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Students pledge program completion at ceremony

induction ceremonyStudents, families and community members came together on Sept. 30 to celebrate the inaugural class of freshman at Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston High School. The 91 Cyber P-TECH students were dressed in black graduation robes as they filed into the induction ceremony held in the JROTC building on the Sam Houston campus. Some looked nervous while others smiled and waved at their family members in the audience. 

P-TECH, short for Pathways in Technology Early College High School, prepares students with the skills, credentials and industry-specific associate degrees necessary for high-wage, high-demand careers in some of the nation’s fastest-growing industries. The program at Sam Houston is the first in the city and focuses on cybersecurity. According to the 15th annual Business Facilities rankings issued this summer, Texas has the most cybersecurity growth potential in the United States.

Sam Houston Principal Mateen Diop greeted the crowd before introducing Cyber P-TECH Principal Delinda Castro. 

“I am honored and humbled to be leading this great staff and these amazing students before you,” said Castro. “You are the best, you are the brightest, you are the first. This is the strongest, most academically prepared class Sam Houston has seen in many years thanks to the leadership of our principals at M.L King Academy and Davis Middle School.”

Under the model, students will be able to earn a high school diploma, an associate degree, a two-year postsecondary certificate or industry certification, and complete work-based training through internships, apprenticeships or other job-training programs.

Representatives from partner organizations St. Philip’s College and Accenture Federal Services also spoke at the event. Industry partners are essential to Cyber P-TECH. According to Ashlyn Barrientes, Cyber P-TECH director, a goal of the program is to ensure all students are paired with a mentor that is committed to being a trusted advisor, guide, encourager, and supporter of the students. P-TECH’s industry board will be launching a comprehensive mentorship program later this fall.

Cyber P-TECH student Josiah James, who said he decided to join the program because it gave him the opportunity to enhance his learning of the programming language Python, was selected to close the speaking portion of the induction ceremony.  

“We will move forward boldly and passionately to not only fulfill the requirements of Cyber P-TECH USA, but to make our dreams a reality,” Josiah said. 

Josiah exited the stage and led his fellow students in a spoken pledge to commit and finish the program before signing their name on a giant banner which will be hung in the Cyber P-TECH building.

Josiah’s mom, Cynthia Harris, says she is excited that her son is pursuing a program that he is passionate about.

“He has been doing really well,” she said. “The faculty, they are really behind him as far as what he is trying to do. I think this is the best program that they could have, especially here on the eastside. It helps with college costs, and it helps advance him towards college.” 


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