Weekend College gives working students time to pursue degree

Free information session on Feb. 23 will detail unique program that caters to adult learners

Two welders working on a project
Industrial Welding Technology is one of five degree program options that students can choose from in the Weekend College at Lee College, which is hosting a free information session on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in the Rundell Hall Conference Center on campus. Additional program options include General Studies Transfer degrees in Allied Health and Social Science Concentration, Business Administration and Management and Computer and Network Maintenance Technology.

BAYTOWN, TX — As a mother of four working full time to support her family, Raquel Velazquez didn’t think she would ever be able to go back to school and earn the college degree she always wanted. Then she learned about the Weekend College at Lee College.

Through the Weekend College, students earn associate’s degrees in less than 2 years by attending classes only on Friday evenings and Saturdays. Funded through a $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the program caters to adult learners and others who want to advance their careers but have to juggle school with work and other responsibilities.

The first of several free information sessions for prospective Weekend College students will be held from 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23,  in the Rundell Hall Conference Center on campus. Participants will hear from faculty, staff and current students about the five different program options – General Studies -Transfer in Allied Health, General Studies – Social Science Concentration, Business Administration and Management, Industrial Welding Technology and Computer and Network Maintenance Technology – and learn how to enroll in the program for the Fall 2017 semester. Information will be available in both English and Spanish, and refreshments will be provided.

Additional information sessions will be held March 4, April 13, May 21, June 10, July 18 and Aug. 2.

“It sounded like it was going to work for me,” said Velazquez, who picked up a flyer about the Weekend College while helping her daughter register for classes. She entered the program just as her son and daughter were getting started at Lee College and will be the first of them to graduate, earning an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration and Management in May.

Of the first cohort of students to enroll in the Weekend College in Fall 2015, fully 65 percent are expected to complete their degree programs within three years or less – significantly more than the state average of 12 percent.

Grant director Victoria Marron attributes the high success rate to the unique design of the Weekend College program. The same groups of 18-25 students are kept together from enrollment to graduation or transfer. Courses are offered at multiple Lee College locations to make them more convenient, and many are delivered in a hybrid format that blends online and classroom instruction. Block scheduling ensures students know exactly which courses to take and when they will be held, and Weekend College courses are never dropped or filled to capacity. Once accepted into the program, students will always have the classes they need for their degree.

Weekend College students work with a completion coach who helps them apply for the program, secure financial aid and conquer any challenges that arise while they are enrolled in school and even after graduation. They also receive personalized advising, financial assistance and round-the-clock tutoring as needed.

Initially “terrified” to return to school and unsure how she would make time for everything on her lengthy to-do list, Velazquez said she  now encourages others to consider the Weekend College. Having guaranteed classes and a cohort of classmates with whom she has forged strong connections make completing the program easier than she expected.

“Looking back on it, it just happens; time just flies and everything ends up working out,” Velazquez said. “What I tell people is that if I can find the time, you can find the time. If I can do it, you can do it. Ask questions, contact a counselor, get all the information you can and see if it’s a good fit for you.”

For more details about the Weekend College at Lee College or the upcoming information sessions, contact Completion Coach Jessica Falla at 281.425.6421 or Outreach and Recruitment Specialist Sharon Guillory at 832.556.5776, or visit www.lee.edu/weekend.

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 honors more than 600 graduates at spring commencement ceremonies

BAYTOWN, TX — Texas State Rep. John Zerwas advised the more than 600 graduates who received associate degrees and certificates at the 2016 Lee College spring commencement ceremonies to never underestimate the value of the gift of knowledge they had been given.

2016 Lee College Spring Commencement“Knowledge gives you the unique advantage to control your own destiny,” said Zerwas, who delivered the keynote address at both the 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. graduations held Saturday, May 14, in the Sports Arena on campus. “Graduates from this institution are highly sought for this very reason, and you should be confident in knowing that your time at Lee College has contributed to the will, capacity and character that will allow you to rally others toward a common purpose and vision.”

Now in his fifth term as the representative for fast-growing Texas House District 28, Zerwas is also in his first term as chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education. He noted the importance of community college education throughout the state, and cited Lee College as a shining example of the instrumental role that two-year colleges play in preparing students to enter the workforce or succeed at a four-year university.

“The state of Texas is going to expect great things from you,” Zerwas said. “Be prepared to build upon this gift of knowledge, such that the certain changes that will occur in your future don’t leave you behind in a cloak of self-righteousness. Graduates from Lee College will have a legacy of impacting humanity through their chosen professions, but also through a passion for benevolence and generosity. You are joining an exclusive group of individuals who will make this place much better for generations to come.”

Among the graduates who walked across the stage at commencement to receive their degrees and certificates were nearly 50 students from IMPACT Early College High School, where students have the opportunity to earn a high-school diploma and 60 hours of college credit simultaneously. The IMPACT Class of 2016 is the third to participate in Lee College commencement since the partnership between the college and Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District began.

“Graduation is never the end; it is only the beginning of the next steps you will take in your lives,” said Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown, reminding graduates that their achievement has made them role models for others to follow. “Your education is yours forever, and it will serve you well. Congratulations for having the fortitude and the desire to better yourselves, better your families and move out into the world to do what you do best.”

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 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.