Lee celebrates 20th anniversary of The Human Condition

Former Lee College students (from left) Debbie Long, Christian Morrell, and Jessie Selph.

Baytown, TX – Debbie Long walked into the college classroom and nearly changed her mind. As a non-traditional student, Long began taking classes at Lee College later in life after her children were grown and out of the house. Initially, she was concerned about the age difference between her and her peers, but one course helped her find her voice and gave her the newfound confidence she needed to finish her degree plan.

“I didn’t have much confidence when I started going back to school,” said Long. “I definitely felt the age difference. But the Human Condition class felt like a safe place to share ideas and to learn from each other. Despite our differences, everyone in the class became good friends and accepted each other for who we were. The instructors were amazing and gave me the confidence that pushed me to do things I never thought I could do. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

This month, Lee College celebrates 20 years of the Human Condition: a unique, critical-thinking seminar within the Lee College Honors Program. Developed in 2000, the academically advanced team-taught course has challenged Lee College students for more than two decades to question the world around them through analysis of various literature and art forms.

“The goal of the class is not to change students’ minds. The goal is to teach them to consider different perspectives and understand why they believe what they believe,” said Dr. Georgeann Ward, Lee College Honors Program coordinator and lead instructor for the Human Condition. “We want students to learn how to have tough discussions and consider perspectives they didn’t think about before to then form their own beliefs. These are essential skills, and I can’t think of a more important time in history for students to question and investigate the information they receive.”

Each unit begins with a study of social theory or philosophy that provides insight into human behavior. Students then apply these theoretical “lenses” to various texts, including literature, film, art, architecture, and field experiences. At the end of the semester, students complete a seminar paper and present their work to the college community and often at local, regional and national conferences.

Ward said the reading and writing-intensive course is fundamentally different from typical college courses because the instructors are never standing at a podium delivering a lecture. Instead, the entire class collaborates in search of knowledge. 

“In the Human Condition, [the instructors] are not merely the depositors of knowledge, but we are looking to students to bring their questions and drive the discussion,” said Ward. “Everyone in the room is on an equal plane at all times as makers of knowledge.”

“For some students, this is a life-changing course because it gives them brand new perspectives and opens the door for academic opportunities they might not have thought were possible,” said Ward.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee receives $10,000 grant from Jay and Kay Eshbach Foundation

From left, Lee College President Dr. Lynda Villanueva, Kay Eshbach, and Lori Eshbach Comanich. (Photo by The Baytown Sun.)

Lee College recently received a $10,000 donation from the Jay and Kay Eshbach Foundation to help students manage financial challenges through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The gift will go directly to the Lee Cares emergency fund. It will provide Lee College students funding to help cover the cost of necessary expenses that could prevent them from finishing their education, such as medical costs, housing, childcare and food insecurities.

“We are extremely grateful for this generous donation from the Jay and Kay Eshbach Foundation,” said Dr. Lynda Villanueva, Lee College president. “As a public-serving institution, Lee College decided early on during the pandemic that we would do whatever it took to help all students succeed during this strenuous time. Because of this selfless gift, we are now that much closer to achieving that which we’ve set out to do.”

Jay Eshbach, president of the Jay and Kay Eshbach Foundation and founder of Eshbach Retirement Planning in Baytown, hopes this donation will help Lee College students overcome financial barriers to achieve their higher education goals.   

“One of the Eshbach Foundation’s core values is to be there when people need us,” he said. “We hope during these difficult times, the grant will help to keep hard-working students on the path toward graduation, even in the midst of many financial pressures.”  

So far, more than $150,000 in private donations to the Lee Cares emergency fund has been distributed to students who need help paying for basic needs as the result of job losses or other financial difficulties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Current Lee College students can apply for Lee Cares scholarships online at https://lee.academicworks.com/opportunities/11144.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Auto dealers donate $200K to local groups

By Michael Pineda / Baytown Sun
michael.pineda@baytownsun.com

Roger and Kim Elswick pose before their business
Roger and Kim Elswick

The Baytown Chamber of Commerce had its October Business Exchange Thursday, but it was the charity of Roger and Kim Elswick that stole the show.

The Elswick Automotive owners announced donations of just under $200,000 to benefit community charities, along with funding that will go toward feeding families for a week. Roger Elswick said the business had taken a hit early in the pandemic but has recovered in recent months, allowing the opportunity to give back.

“It’s a new thing,” he said. My wife and I have felt that throughout all that has gone on in the pandemic, a lot of people have been struggling, and we have been blessed, and we wanted to help. We picked the organizations that could benefit from the donation that has been most affected or provided services for the community.”

The Rotary Club received a $4,500 donation after the cancellation of its main fundraiser, the Annual Shrimp and Catfish Festival. Missouri Street Church of Christ received $10,000 for its food pantry. Also receiving $10,000 was Project Blue and the Pregnancy Resource Center. Bridge Over Troubled Waters received $17,500, while the Lee College Foundation was given $30,000 to supplement CARES Act funding that allowed for education assistance.

An estimated $115,000 will go toward feeding families of four for a week. Food will be dispersed on dates in October, November and December. In announcing the donations, Kim Elswick said the couple had been fortunate their business had not been affected.

“We feel we’ve been called by God to give back in every way we can,” she said. “We’re extremely blessed to be part of this community and are thankful for the support that allows us to expand and return that blessing, at least in part, to the Baytown area.”

Among those on hand to accept for the Missouri Church of Christ was Kim Martin, an elder with the congregation who is active in its food ministry. He said 150 people are fed each week through its pantry. Martin said they have to ask people their income as part of its services, and a lot of people have answered $0.

“We tell them our hearts are with you,” Martin said. “This will help so much.”

Project Blue, founded by Mary Zaruba Pinney in memory of her brother Marcus, is operated by Mark Pinney and Dr. Jim Zaruba after her untimely passing. Proceeds go toward helping police officers who face serious illness or injuries outside of their duties. It has donated over $280,000 to officers and hosts the Jailbreak Run.

The Pregnancy Resource Center offers realistic alternatives to abortion. It had to cancel its golf tournament fundraiser due to the pandemic. Bridge Over Troubled Waters assists victims of domestic violence, which has increased since stay-at-home mandates were enacted.

Lee College will be able to use its donation to help students impacted by the pandemic. Dr. Lynda Villanueva, president of the college, gave credit to board members for taking steps to innovate in response to the pandemic. She said the donation will allow more students to pursue their academic endeavors.

The Elswicks have enlisted help from others to fulfill its goal of feeding Baytown families. The plan is to feed 1,250 families, with 250 on Oct. 17, 400 on Nov. 21, and 600 on Dec. 19. Faith Family Church has been recruited for its expertise in food dispersal. Kroger will bag the food and transport to the church, while Wismer Distributing will offer usage of a refrigerated truck. The Kiwanis Club is also helping, selling 300 cases of apples at a discounted rate and supplying volunteers to bag them during distribution of food.

Elswick Automotive, which is building a new facility, Community Honda off the I-10 East access road between Garth Road and East Main, has remained active in support of the community prior to announcement of the donations. Most recently it made a donation to the Baytown Chamber Capital Campaign helping provide to the realization of construction of a new building. It has also helped under the radar, donating air scrubbers to the ventilation system of Baytown Little Theater, which allowed it to reopen.

“We are just very blessed, and we give all to the glory of God,” Roger Elswick said.

Lee College Awarded Funds for Vocational Scholarships

Baytown, TX – Lee College was one of seven area colleges to receive part of a $300,000 award from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Vocational Scholarship Program. The 2020-2021 scholarship awards will benefit Lee College students pursuing degrees or certificates in Process Technology, Instrumentation Technology or Electrical Technology.

“We are excited to be selected for this award from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo because of the lifelong impact it will have on the Lee College recipients,” said Fran Parent, Lee College director for the federal Perkins Grant. “Because of our expertise and strong partnerships with local industry, Lee College is the best choice for people who want to be successful in vocational careers. These scholarships will make it possible for even more students to take advantage of what we have to offer and help them build a solid future in their chosen vocational field.”

This is the sixth consecutive year Lee College has received funding through the scholarship program aimed at supporting non-traditional students in their pursuit of credit and non-credit training.

The other Houston-area colleges to received funding from the Vocational Scholarship Program include Houston Community College, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, Texas State Technical College and Wharton County Junior College.

Current Lee College students can apply for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarship to cover tuition, fees and books. The deadline to apply for the scholarship is Wednesday, Sept. 30. Apply online at https://www.lee.edu/foundation/scholarships-for-students/index.php

Scholarship requirements:

  • Must be enrolled in Fall 2020 semester at Lee College
  • 2.0 GPA or higher
  • Complete online application
  • Must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Must be a Texas resident
  • Must have a declared major in Process Technology, Instrumentation Technology or Electrical technology.

If you have additional questions, email scholarships@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee awarded $1 million federal grant for Job Corps Scholars

Baytown, TX – Lee College has received a $1,182,574 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as part of the Job Corps Scholars Program, a new national demonstration project that provides at-risk youth and young adults with job skills instruction, educational opportunities and individualized employment counseling.

Lee College was one of 20 colleges and universities selected to receive the DOL Job Corps Scholars Program grant totaling nearly $24 million.

“It is an incredible honor to be awarded this grant from the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Dr. Lynda Villanueva, Lee College president. “This award is evidence of the hard-working, student-minded team we have here at Lee College. As a result of this amazing opportunity, our communities will prosper, and people’s lives will improve. That is at the very heart of higher education, and it encompasses everything we do at Lee College.”

The college will provide training in certificate programs for in-demand fields including welding, pipefitting and millwright that can be completed in less than one year at the McNair campus in Baytown.

There is still time for students to enroll in the program for the Fall 2020 semester. To be eligible for the Lee College Job Corps Scholar Program, students must be 16 to 24 years of age and demonstrate a financial need. Eligible students will receive financial assistance with tuition and fees. Students will also benefit from personal and employment counselors’ services to support them through the duration of the program and to guide them toward employment after they complete the program.

“The Job Corps Scholars Program provides all the skills and knowledge a student needs to begin a meaningful career in today’s economy,” said Dr. Veronique Tran, Lee College vice president of instruction. “The program sets students up for success, even in the face of adversity. We are grateful for this opportunity from the U.S. Department of Labor, and we are excited about what the future holds for our institution and for the students who take advantage of this spectacular program.”  

The first fast track program lasts 13 weeks and runs Sept. 14 through Dec. 9. The courses are being held Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the McNair Center in Baytown.

Courses will be offered with a combination of online instruction and hands-on labs following social distancing and safety procedures. For those who do not meet the eligibility criteria of the Job Corps Scholars Program, some seats will be available and students may apply for financial aid to assist with the cost of the program.

Sixty-five percent of the total costs of the Job Corps Scholars program will be financed with Federal money and 35 percent will be financed by non-governmental sources.

To find out more about the Job Corp Scholars Program, contact Frances Parent, fparent@lee.edu or 281.425.6456.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Kids at College Program Takes Virtual Learning to New Level

A child attends a virtual summer camp
Ethan, 10, learns Javascript while participating in a virtual summer kids camp via computer.

Baytown, TX – With community gatherings canceled, sports leagues sidelined and play dates nowhere in sight; many parents were left wondering how to keep their children engaged and entertained during the long summer months of the pandemic. The solution for several local families was the Lee College Center for Workforce and Community Development Kids at College summer program.

This summer, Lee College teamed up with Black Rocket, a national leader in tech education, to offer students virtual summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Camps.

Families were able to choose from a wide variety of cutting-edge courses with topics like coding, game design, eSports, virtual reality and more. Each week top teachers led students in live group classes, and then students convened into smaller breakout sessions with customized learning coaches.

As a bonus, Lee College offered $100 scholarships for up to three classes per student thanks to a generous gift from a local donor earlier this year.

Estefana White from Anahuac said the classes were a huge help for her family this summer, and thanks to the Lee College scholarship, her 10-year-old son Ethan was able to take three classes instead of one.

“We were so grateful for these classes, and the scholarship made it even better,” said White. “It was a big relief for us as parents to have something that we knew our son would enjoy learning about, but would also keep him engaged over the summer. These were the first STEM-related classes he has attended, and they really boosted his motivation to learn more.”

Thirteen-year-old Ciera from Baytown also completed three classes in Python programming, coding and JavaScript. Because Ciera aspires to be a software engineer when she grows up, she was excited to learn how to design video games and explore different programming languages first-hand.

Ciera’s mother, Billie Baker, believes the Kids at College program has started preparing her daughter for a successful STEM career.

“The earlier kids are exposed to these types of programs, the more comfortable they will become,” said Baker. “If kids can have direction and learn about technology at a young age, I believe they will have a better chance to succeed.”

From fine arts to creative writing to sports, Baker said she has always been impressed with Lee College’s wide variety of summer courses offered for kids. She said this summer was no exception with Lee College providing access to high-caliber classes that are typically more expensive on other learning sites.

“Not only are these classes an affordable and effective way for our kids to explore technology, but it helps them feel connected with a local college and gets them thinking about actually going to college one day.

“The pandemic has taught us that we need to learn the technology; you never know what’s going to happen. The Kids at College program establishes an easy pathway that can lead kids to career and academic success,” said Baker.

There is still one week remaining in the Summer 2020 Kids at College program, and the Lee College Center for Community and Workforce Development is planning a full list of virtual learning opportunities for Fall 2020 as well.

“The Kids at College Program provides an important outlet for children to learn while doing activities they love,” said Katherine Norland, Kids at College program manager. “We love hearing about the fantastic experiences our students had during our online summer courses and anticipate more amazing stories with the fall online learning opportunities.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College, Liberty ISD announce free college for 2020 graduates

Baytown, TX – The Lee College Board of Regents and the Liberty ISD school board approved implementation of a tuition supplement agreement to cover the cost of Lee College fall tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 graduates of Liberty ISD.

The agreement is an extension of the Supporting College Readiness Program developed earlier this summer between Baytown’s Goose Creek CISD School District and Lee College. As part of the agreement with Liberty ISD, Lee College will cover the cost of in-district tuition and fees for each participating student, and Liberty ISD will cover the remaining cost of out-of-district fees for each participating student. Those eligible for free tuition include December 2019 or June 2020 graduates who register full-time, or at least 12 credit hours at Lee College in the Fall 2020 semester.

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be a 2019-2020 graduate of Liberty ISD
  • Enroll in and maintain at least 12 credits at Lee College for the Fall 2020 semester
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). 

This is a last-dollar scholarship program covering the cost of tuition and fees for Fall 2020 at Lee College, meaning the scholarship kicks in after all other grant and scholarship funding has been applied. In the event the student is awarded federal or Texas Public Education Grant money, that financial aid will be applied to the student account first. Lee College will then discount 56 percent of the balance, and Liberty ISD will be responsible for 44 percent of the remaining balance.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Liberty ISD to help these new graduates succeed in higher education with no out of pocket costs to them,” said Lee College President, Dr. Lynda Villanueva. “It’s hard for families to justify the cost of attending four-year institutions this fall with all the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic. Especially now, the smart choice is for students to begin their quality education closer to home. With this free tuition program, students and their families have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

The program will also benefit Liberty ISD students who choose to take advantage of it by providing encouragement and motivation for academic achievement as well as College, Career and Military Readiness (CCMR), furthering the goal of college readiness. In addition, it will support the goal of creating a local college-going culture.

“This is such an exciting new opportunity for Liberty High School graduates,” said Liberty ISD Superintendent, Dr. Cody Abshier. “The Liberty ISD Board of Trustees and district administrators are thankful to Lee College for their continuous efforts to provide practical educational opportunities to our students.  We are fortunate to be a partner with Lee College in so many meaningful endeavors, and we fully support them as they are now reaching out to our 2020 graduates with this fabulous offer.”

The Supporting College Readiness Program is a shared initiative by Lee College and local school districts to help overcome barriers faced by first-generation college going students to allow greater achievement among these groups of individuals. This program is intended, in part, to specifically target the barrier of affordability faced by these groups, and its implementation will be reflective of this shared goal.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College a partner in College Success for Single Mothers

Lee joins the National College Transition Network at World Education

Baytown, TX – Lee College is one of eight community colleges selected through a competitive application process to participate in College Success for Single Mothers. Funded by ECMC Foundation and led by the National College Transition Network (NCTN), the goal of the three-year project is to identify the needs of single-mother students on campus and develop a plan to expand key practices and services to enhance their college and career success. Lee College has convened a cross-functional task force of decision-makers, practitioners, and stakeholders to carry out the project’s activities and receive a $10,000 stipend. 

“By doing more to address the educational needs of our students who are single mothers, we believe Lee College is taking steps toward a more equitable society as a whole,” said Dr. Lynda Villanueva, Lee College President. “We are excited to participate in the national College Success for Single Mothers program, because educational success for single mothers makes a lasting difference not just in the lives of individuals, but for entire generations.”

Single mothers make up an increasing part of the post-secondary student population in the United States. Lee College believes the educational success of single mothers has the potential to reap intergenerational benefits, forging a path for economic mobility and success for their families.

“The CSSM grant is going to be a great opportunity for us to build on our current supports offered to student parents, especially our single mothers,” said Dr. Victoria Marron, Lee College’s Executive Director of Retention and Transition Services. “As a child raised by a single mother, I can attest to the struggle and advocacy needed for this population of students, including of single-fathers. This is truly exciting, and I am honored to lead the college and our task force on this project as we increase institutional capacity, advocacy, and resources for these students.”  

Marron said Lee College’s commitment to addressing the needs of single mothers and student parents is essential to its core values of equity and student success for all students regardless of their background.

To achieve the project goals, the National College Transition Network (NCTN) is partnering with the Program Evaluation and Research Group at Endicott College, developers of the Family Friendly Campus Toolkit: Using Data to Improve Outcomes, and Achieving the Dream, a national leader in community college reform. These two organizations complement NCTN’s expertise designing effective college and career pathways for adult learners. 

College Success for Single Mothers builds on NCTN’s 2019 report, No Matter What Obstacle is Thrown My Way, which documents examples of 17 community colleges that offer targeted programming for student parents. The report recommends that significant work remains to increase institutional capacity to collect data to identify single mothers on campus; provide professional development to faculty and staff on the needs of single mothers; develop diverse and flexible funding sources; and advocate for policies within and outside of the institutions that support single mothers.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. 

Lee suspends athletics season because of pandemic

Lee College announced June 22, 2020, it is suspending its athletic season for the 2020-21 academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All practices, scrimmages, games, tournaments and community activities conducted by the school’s athletics programs are suspended.

“We are faced with extraordinary circumstances as the nature of this pandemic is rapidly changing,” said Lee College President Dr. Lynda Villanueva. “We are all very sad to have to miss a year of excitement and competition, but the safety of our students and staff is of utmost importance, and we see very little possibility for our athletes to safely practice, play, and travel together in the upcoming year. Every decision that we have made including this one has been the result of much consideration and careful alignment with the guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and local health officials.

“Given these circumstances, Lee College will continue to work with our student athletes to ensure that each student will be able to meet their educational goals as planned. Lee College faculty and staff stand ready to help students adjust to these new measures for as long as necessary.”

Lee College also announced all student-athletes enrolled on a team roster “in good standing” during the 2019-20 academic year and all athletes who signed a National Junior College Athletic Association letter of intent to attend Lee College and participate on a team during the 2020-21 academic year will receive:

  1. Guaranteed Free Tuition and Regular Fees: With Federal Financial Aid grants and Lee College scholarships (as needed), each eligible student athlete who studies at Lee College will be guaranteed paid tuition and fees for up to 36 credit hours for enrolling between now and the end of Spring Term 2021 classes.
  2. Direct Support from Lee College to support their academic progress: Lee College Athletic Department staff and other Lee College employees will continue to support and provide guidance to student-athletes, while carefully tracking their academic progress.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College, Goose Creek ISD announce free college tuition for 2020 graduates

Baytown, TX – The Lee College Board of Regents and Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District (GCCISD) Thursday approved implementation of a new program to cover the cost of Lee College fall tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 graduates of GCCISD.

Under the new Supporting College Readiness Program, GCCISD and Lee College will split equally the cost of tuition and fees for eligible students. Those eligible for free tuition include December 2019 or June 2020 graduates of GCCISD who register to take at least 12 credit hours at Lee College in the Fall 2020 semester.

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be a GCCISD 2019-2020 graduate
  • Enroll in and maintain at least 12 credits at Lee College for the Fall 2020 semester
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA).

This is a last-dollar scholarship program covering the cost of tuition and fees for Fall 2020 at Lee College, meaning the scholarship kicks in after all other grant and scholarship funding has been applied.

“Lee College is proud to join forces with GCCISD to help students take that first step in reaching their goals of achieving a higher education,” said Lee College President, Dr. Lynda Villanueva. “We know many people are struggling with finances right now as a result of COVID-19 and they might think they can’t afford to go to college. Together with GCCISD, we are effectively removing those financial barriers so new GCCISD high school graduates can begin the journey towards an associate degree or certificate—with no out-of-pocket costs to them. The time to begin this journey is now. We want these students to know they belong in college, and they belong at Lee College.”

The program also will benefit Goose Creek CISD students who choose to take advantage of it by providing encouragement and motivation for academic achievement as well as College, Career and Military Readiness (CCMR), furthering the District’s goal of post-secondary readiness. In addition, it will support the goal of creating a local college going culture.

“This partnership between Lee College and Goose Creek CISD provides an amazing opportunity for our Goose Creek CISD graduates to experience a semester of college at no cost as some students are deferred by financial restraints and others by fear of the unknown,” said Goose Creek CISD superintendent Dr. Randal O’Brien. “We are so grateful for the support our friends at Lee College provide for our District, and we look forward to continuing to work together to help our students overcome the obstacles and achieve their goals.”

The Supporting College Readiness Program is a shared initiative by Lee College and GCCISD to help overcome barriers faced by first-generation college going students to allow greater achievement among these groups of individuals. This program is intended, in part, to specifically target the barrier of affordability faced by these groups, and its implementation will be reflective of this shared goal.

There are seven high schools within GCCISD including Peter E. Hyland Center, IMPACT Early College High School, Robert E. Lee High School, Goose Creek Memorial High School, POINT Alternative Center, Ross S. Sterling High School and Stuart Career Tech High School. GCCISD had approximately 1,600 graduates in June 2020.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.