Houston Mayor, Sylvester Turner will speak at Lone Star College-North Harris’ 43rd Commencement Ceremony, Friday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center, located at 1865 Aldine Bender Road in Houston.
“Mayor Turner has always been an advocate for education and for our college,” said Dr. Gerald Napoles, president of LSC-North Harris. “We are extremely honored that Mayor Turner will share his inspiring story with our graduates and recognize their academic accomplishments.”
From a young age, Turner’s mother instilled the importance of education to each one of her nine children. After his father passed away when Sylvester was just 13 years old, his mother took on the household and worked as a maid at a the old Rice Hotel in Houston. Not having finished high school herself, made her push even harder for her children to have opportunities that she never had. Her determination inspired her children to achieve and succeed.
As a resident of Acres Homes in northwest Houston, Turner attended local public schools, and due to integration, transferred into another school in the district. After time, Turner has adapted to his new educational environment. He found his strengths in the classroom, and even served as the president of the student body at Klein High School. As he continued to excel in academics, Turner earned the distinction as valedictorian of his senior class.
Turner went on to study at the University of Houston. After graduation, he continued his education at the prestigious Harvard Law School. Upon his return to his Texas roots, he joined a local law firm, and in 1983, he founded Houston-based law firm Barnes and Turner.
In addition to practicing law, Turner has devoted himself to public service. He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives for House District 139 in Northwest Houston, working on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years. During that time, he was appointed to various Budget Conference Committees to help balance the state’s budget as well as serving on the Legislative Budget Board.
Tuner’s success would not have been possible without the constant support of his family, especially his mother. Turner’s story is one of hope and determination; Turner had goals and never looked back.
During his Mayor’s Address to the graduating class of 2017, Turner will stand on stage not as the Mayor, but as a person that made an education a priority in his life, the same way the students that sit before him have done. Each individual has their own story, challenges, goals and dreams. In Turner’s eyes, the time, effort and persistence was all worth it. To him, an education is something invaluable, not just serving as a key that can unlock opportunities for the future, but something to be proud of because he had to earn it.
In addition to Mayor Turner’s welcome message, Vice Chancellor and General Counsel at Lone Star College Mario K. Castillo will give the Commencement Address for the event.
Castillo oversees the Office of the General Counsel, Office of Human Resources, Office of Governance, Audit, and Compliance at Lone Star College. In addition to being Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law, he is also the author of The Employer Mandate Handbook, a guide to the Affordable Care Act for employers. In 2016, Castillo was recognized by the Houston Business Journal with the 40 Under 40 Award; celebrating young professionals who significantly contribute and make an impact in their communities.
Much like Turner, Castillo’s story is one that students can relate to on various levels. At just 25 years old, Castillo’s life changed drastically. The day after graduating from law school he and his wife offered to take in his 17-year old sister to help her finish out her senior year of high school. Castillo’s father, divorced from Castillo’s mother, was a long-haul truck driver and was absent from home regularly while trying to provide for his daughter over which he had sole custody. Castillo offered to help his family by caring for his younger sister and ensuring she made it to college. A few weeks after law school graduation, his sister moved in.
Wanting to protect his sister from falling through the cracks and going through some of the same struggles he did, Castillo tried to provide the best opportunities that he could for his sister. Education was extremely important in Castillo’s eyes, so he took the first step to helping her reach her goals for the future, and enrolled her in high school.
From giving the “talks” to the boyfriends and helping with her prom dress, Castillo became his sister’s main support system. Although teenagers do not always want to take advice, especially from an older sibling, Castillo hung in there.
Castillo’s is proud to say that helping his sister and family are his biggest accomplishments and the greatest realization of success. While it was not always an easy task, Castillo must have done something right. His sister graduated from high school and earned a full scholarship to college.
Approximately 2,000 students will have earned their associate degrees and certificates at LSC-North Harris in May.
Everyone has a story. Make education a part of yours.
Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 East, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit LoneStar.edu/NorthHarris.
Lone Star College offers high-quality, low-cost academic transfer and career training education to 98,000 students each semester. LSC is training tomorrow’s workforce today and redefining the community college experience to support student success. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., serves as chancellor of LSC, the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area with an annual economic impact of $3.1 billion. LSC consists of six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, Lone Star Corporate College and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.