In a moving graduation ceremony that brought both tears and beaming smiles, the Literacy Council of Fort Bend graduated 35 adult students who earned their GED, ESL, and Citizenship certifications.
Gathering at the Literacy Council, family members, friends, staff and board members honored students who have graduated since 2019. The first graduation since the pandemic, the ceremony paid homage to adult students from all over the world who settled in Houston and have sought literacy and citizenship in order to become contributing members of society.
After opening remarks from Executive Director Terri Stuart and Programs Director Nillia Jimenez, Danny Nguyen stepped up as the keynote speaker. The former City Council member and active commercial real estate agent spoke softly and impactfully about growing up in Vietnam during the war, traveling by boat with 72 other refugees to come to America, and starting with nothing to build a life in the Land of the Free.
He said of his humble beginnings, “Anyone can earn an MBA or a PhD. The real workers are those earning their English as a Second Language (ESL) certificates. The graduates sitting here before me are the hardest workers out there.”
Volunteer tutor Jeff Hoffman followed with an unusual but powerful definition of success. He said, “The dictionary definition of success is to achieve one’s attempted goals. That’s true, but what that definition doesn’t mention is the need for failure. As Einstein said, ‘Failure is success in progress.’ Another way of saying this is through the Chinese proverb, ‘Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’ Perseverance is true success.”
Graduate speaker Brianna Miller brought tears when she shared her story of being bullied as a young student and feeling as if she had no future. She said only her grandmother kept her from taking her own life. Then she enrolled in GED classes through Literacy Council of Fort Bend. She found her purpose, felt the motivation that comes with success, and now cries tears of joys.
The graduates then proudly received their diplomas, some young and eager to choose a career and follow their dreams, some older and proud to be Americans who can now read to their children and grandchildren.
The Literacy Council of Fort Bend provides classes taught entirely by volunteers who wish to give back to their communities. Adults seeking ESL classes, citizenship, GED certificates, and help on their paths to success are welcome to sign up for classes online or in person at the offices on Emily Ct. in Sugar Land.
Volunteers are always needed, and corporate and individual donations are greatly appreciated as the Literacy Council seeks to serve all of its community members wishing to create a better life for themselves. Donations can be made at