Back to School: Harlingen reaches out to bring students back

HARLINGEN — A knock at the door roused Rodolfo Castillo Jr. from a sound sleep yesterday.

“Someone’s here to see you,” said his mother.


Rodolfo, 19, crawled out of bed and went to the door where Harlingen School Board President George McShan waited to speak with him about returning to school.

McShan, school district administrators and teachers were contacting numerous students in the community who only needed a few credits to finish high school. They’d left for many reasons, but the Harlingen school district’s “Connect to Success” program offers them a way to earn their diploma.

Alicia Noyola, chief academic officer, had found the morning’s endeavor very rewarding.

“It went very well,” she said at the HCISD administration office as Rodolfo signed. Everyone wore blue shirts with the words “Ignite the Fire.”

“It’s an opportunity to listen to the kids’ stories and it’s an opportunity to see them where they live and what their circumstances are,” Noyola said. “We have some kids that have children at home, they need to work to support them. It’s just different life situations that get in the way.”

After speaking with McShan for a few minutes, Rodolfo agreed to go to the HCISD administration office to sign up for the program. Later that morning, McShan discovered he never arrived. So, back to Rodolfo’s house where he was once again fast asleep.

“I spoke to him about the importance of coming back to school and we gave him a ride to the school district building,” he said with a chuckle.

As they walked in the front doors, McShan announced, “Here’s Rodolfo. We had to get him out of the house.”

Rodolfo presented himself with a warm smile and casual demeanor, something which has probably served him well in many situations.

It appears McShan may have appeared at his door at just the right time. Rodolfo’s now hoping to finish his diploma, move out of state and pursue more goals.