Every year, HISD’s Career Readiness department hosts the Career and Military Signing Day celebration, an event for recognizing and celebrating high school seniors who are graduating on a path to military enlistment or employment with one of HISD’s partner corporations.
This year, the celebration was held on Thursday, May 18, at Delmar Fieldhouse where the graduates and their families were welcomed by Career Readiness Executive Director Kaire HopsonOnajobi. As guests enjoyed a lunch catered by student chefs from the Barbara Jordan Career Center and Wheatley High School, Dr. Cornell McGhee, retired US Army Lieutenant and Director of Military Instruction with HISD’s JROTC program, gave opening remarks.
Seniors Maria and Reagan Garcia are sisters (two of a set of triplets) and are both enlisting in the Navy after graduation. They cite their time at Mount Carmel Academy, a college prep school, for their confidence in their decision to enlist. They are excited for the educational opportunities that the Navy provides.
“I’m hoping to gain skills that I never thought I would have, like engineering, and to learn how to maintain civilian life and life on duty,” said Maria.
“[I am looking forward to] finding a lifetime career,” said Reagan. “Even though I have a job in my contract, I’m looking for a bigger one that will last, whatever it takes.”
A total of 152 graduates were recognized at Thursday’s ceremony. Many, like the Garcias, have committed to enlistment in the armed forces, while others have secured offers of employment from one of several Houston businesses based on their dedication to honing their skills throughout their high school careers. Representatives from these businesses, including Walgreens, Supercuts, Memorial Hermann, and HISD Food Service, were in attendance to welcome their new team members to the workforce.
In addition, there were three students, Natalie Abrego, Tatiyona Bridgewater, and Skylar Galindo, who will hit the ground running, starting their own cosmetology businesses after graduation. Also honored were the five recipients of the Service Corporation International (SCI) Scholarship, awarded to students who display excellence in mortuary science studies: Dellina Kiflu, Chelsea Green, Christopher Cantu, Ryan Herrera, and Bless Smith.
Guest speakers Bryant Black and Wayne Salter, of the Greater Houston Partnership and the Texas HHSC Access and Eligibility Services Division respectively, spoke about the importance of a strong foundation for successful futures, something that all of the students in attendance worked hard to achieve.
“Whether it be the military or a career or both, I think it’s a journey, not just a job, but something that is guiding your path, informing where you want to go in life,” said Black.
To learn more about HISD’s Career Readiness department and access resources for post-graduate success, visit their website. For more information on the SCI Scholarship opportunities, visit SCI-Corp.com.