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Sixth-grade boy wanting to follow his father’s footsteps gets a “big rig” surprise from Lone Star College-North Harris

HOUSTON (November 10, 2015) – When Lorie Walters-Qualls, director of Lone Star College’s Transportation Institute, received a letter in a child’s handwriting from Leggett Independent School District, she didn’t know what to think. However, after reading it, she was inspired to surprise a student in this tiny school district of 162 students located about two-hours northeast of Houston.

Richie Sales, Leggett ISD elementary school social studies/history teacher, sent the letter, along with a note of explanation, to Qualls after one of his students turned in a homework assignment that struck a chord with Sales. Sales had posed a question to his students that asked, “If you received a free ride to any college, university or trade school, where would you go?”

Sales was expecting to read responses that included Big 10 universities and some of the larger universities in Texas such as Texas A&M and the University of Texas. However, one of his students, sixth grader, James Gray, admired his father’s profession so much, that he selected Lone Star College Transportation Institute so he could follow in the career path of his father and become a truck driver. Not familiar with Lone Star College or the programs offered at the institute, Sales reached out to Qualls for more information and an idea was born.

Qualls, moved by James’ letter, decided that she and LSC-TI Instructor, Martin Molina, would drive up to Leggett ISD with a big surprise for him. So, on Friday, Nov. 13 at approximately 11 a.m., the college’s signature 18-wheel big rig will pull into Leggett Elementary School parking lot and Qualls will present James with a model of the big rig truck and college information. Unbeknownst to James, all of his classmates will be in attendance as well when the truck pulls up to the school. “This is a perfect opportunity for students to learn about the different types of jobs available to them in the future and the different types of colleges in the area and state, including Lone Star College,” Qualls said.

Qualls, who also has her commercial driver’s license, said that the LSC Transportation Institute’s program has a 98% student placement rate with well-known companies including Dart, Werner Enterprises and Stevens Transportation. She added, “What’s great about the Professional Truck Driver course at LSC Transportation Institute is that truck driving is a recession-proof profession. There will always be goods on the move for retailers, grocers and distributors.”

Sales is known for encouraging his students to research career options and get information on programs that interest them. Leggett ISD Superintendent/Principal Jana Lowe added that the 18-wheeler will make a big impression on her students, especially James.

For more information on the LSC Transportation Institute, please visit LoneStar.edu/CTE-transportation or call 281.765.7750.

Lone Star College has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSC remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with almost 83,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 95,000, Lone Star College is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., is the chancellor of LSC, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.

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