First virtual Dream Summit series event puts students on path to college

HISD kicked off the district’s Dream Summit Series on Thursday with the “Launch the Dream” virtual event, which was filled with information to help students take the necessary actions and steps to make their college aspirations a reality.

The HISD Office of College and Career Readiness and Multilingual Programs DREAM Summit annual event, which is held each year to aid HISD DREAMers, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, visa holders, permanent residents, refugees, and asylum grantees, along with their families, was adapted into a series of virtual events giving more students a chance to make their college dreams come true.

Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer Rick Cruz welcomed students and their families to the virtual event applauding them for their commitment to the future.

“I commend you for being here and taking ownership of your education and future,” he said. “HISD is very invested in making sure that every student, regardless of background, where they came from, where they live, they have an opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”

Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan encouraged students and their families to take full advantage of the resources the district has to offer – and to continue to dream big for their futures.

“College is within your reach and we are all here to help you achieve your dreams,” she said. “Dreamers are vital to not only the American society, but also to the city of Houston and we want to help you access all the opportunities available to you.”

For the sixth year, HISD graduate and DREAMer Dr. Jose Luis Zelaya, who migrated to the U.S. from Honduras at the age of 13 after an arduous 45-day journey, served as keynote speaker inspiring yet another generation of HISD students to chase their dreams.

“Continue to believe in higher education, continue to believe in the resources that HISD can bring to you,” he said. “As you go through this journey, you must remember that you are not alone.”

Students and families were able to participate in information sessions, including discussions about preparing from college, mental health, as well as information session on specific protected rights for DACA recipients.  

The evening ended on a high note when bilingual poet, writer, activist and Sharpstown High School teacher, Guadalupe “Lupe” Mendez, closed out the event with his poem How Candles are Made.

“Your dreams fit into a wick,” he read. “It is a slow burn and sometimes even when the body breaks, the backbone doesn’t.”

The next event in the DREAM Summit Series will be a virtual senior workshop on Tuesday, Dec. 15. To register, visit