Starr County campus set to reopen free GED courses for spring 2023
STC’s Starr County campus is set to welcome its fourth cohort of GED students for the spring 2023 semester. With no GED offerings in Starr County since 2016, students from the area were prompted to drive nearly an hour to Hidalgo County for courses until STC instructor Juan Hernandez (above) restarted the program in Starr County earlier this year.
With no GED offerings in Starr County since 2016, students from the area were prompted to drive nearly an hour to Hidalgo County for courses until STC instructor Juan Hernandez restarted the free General Educational Development program in Starr County earlier this year.
Now nearly six months later he looks forward to starting his fourth cohort of students in January.
“GED classes used to be held in Starr County a long time ago,” Hernandez said. “Statistics show a high school dropout rate of 38% in Starr, so it’s really important to let those in the community know that we have a new GED program currently at the Starr County campus and it’s already making a huge difference for students.”
When Hernandez opened the free program earlier this year, he said he saw more than 30 students sign up for courses in the fall and expects even more once classes begin in the spring.
With an 80% passing rate, Hernandez said the popularity of the program has been spreading mainly by word of mouth.
“I won’t let them quit,” Hernandez says about his approach that he says resonates with students. “It’s going to take them five months or so and I tell them that we’re going to pack 12 years of studying into those months. We have all the resources and services here at STC to help them succeed.”
“I won’t let them quit. It’s going to take them five months or so and I tell them that we’re going to pack 12 years of studying into those months. We have all the resources and services here at STC to help them succeed.”
Arizay Serna said she read about the program in a local newspaper and called Hernandez after being out of school for more than 18 years. Originally from Ciudad Miguel Aleman in Tamaulipas, Serna said she came to the United States at the age of 10 and attended school in Roma.
As a high school dropout, Serna said she worked minor jobs including stints as a waitress and a secretary before returning to receive her GED. Now she is looking at a career path in pharmacy or education once she enters college.
“I came here to improve myself and find success. I want to be better and find a better job, a career that gives me something to look forward to,” Serna said. “I didn’t want to stay in the same place and (Juan) Hernandez helps us to focus and meet our goals.”
Another student, Kiara Pena, said she found out about the GED program at STC’s Starr County campus through social media. After being out for more than five years, Pena said she became inspired after learning about STC’s Organizational Leadership degree and hopes to enter the bachelor’s program.
“I think I was like most who are deciding to come back after being out for a while when I began thinking ‘should I or should I not call’ but there was one day when I just decided to take a shot at it,” Serna said. “It’s worth the extra effort to continue my education so I don’t have to be absent a lot in my kids’ lives. I want to inspire my children and serve as an example for them so they know that women can be leaders as well.”
GED classes include 150 hours of test preparation in all four tested subjects: Mathematical Reasoning, Reasoning through Language Arts, Social Studies and Science.
To register, students need to have a government-issued ID, proof of residency and proof of income.
For more information call 956-716-4743 or visit www.southtexascollege.edu/cpit.