The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

Local News

September 16, 2006

Institue a home of Education

The Roxie Douglas Learning Institute opened in June to provide free General Educational Development classes, an English as a Second Language program and after-school care for Huntsville residents.

Douglas was the mother of the Institute’s executive director, Carmen Irving. Douglas taught in public schools and the Windham School District for more than 30 years. She also taught piano lessons and her Christian beliefs. Irving said her father, Samuel Irving, also was an educator at Grambling State University.

“Our house was a home for education,” Irving said. “With my Mom, it was always the lesson first and everything else came after it was done.”

Douglas taught GED classes in her home with Sue Hall, a fellow educator. Irving said parking and zoning became a problem because of the number of students, and Douglas was forced to stop holding classes. Douglas died in 1997, but Irving and other educators formed the Roxie Douglas Scholarship Foundation in August of that year.

The foundation offers scholarships to graduating seniors who pursue college. Also, the foundation awards humanitarian awards to members of the community who give back to the community and who work with children.

Irving, Karen Maxey, the center’s educational director, and John Escobedo, ESL program coordinator, approached Yvonne Bailey, a friend of Douglas from church, and rented the present temporary building, located at 719 10th St. Classes for the after-school program began Aug. 14, and the GED and ESL classes began Sept. 5.

“We started registering people in June and are filled up,” Irving said. “We are so full, we’re looking for a larger place to have the classes.”

All three staff members said they are committed to education, helping the students, and all believe in community involvement.

“Our staff believes in the education process for children, teens, young adults and even adults and we’re willing to do anything it takes to change their lives in a more positive direction,” Escobedo said.

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