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The Centro Hispano Marista is a program for Hispanic adults that opened with the help of the Society of Mary at the Marist School in August 2012. Its purpose is to offer an opportunity for young, Hispanic adults to prepare and obtain their GED Certification. This will enable them to pursue higher education and to obtain better jobs. An important aspect of the Centro Hispano Marista mission is to reach out, in the name of Jesus and in the spirit of Mary, His Mother, to those who are forgotten or neglected by society.
Aware of the critical need for education and faith formation among the growing population of Hispanic young adults in the Atlanta area, the Marists identified the needs of this group as clearly meeting the criteria of its mission. In the summer of 2011, Reverend Ted Keating, S.M., Provincial of the Society of Mary U.S. Province, expressed his intention that the Marist Fathers and Brothers make their resources and connections available to promote the education of adult Hispanics and the formation of young adult Hispanic leaders in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Fr. Keating envisioned that Marist School and Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, staffed by the Marist Fathers, would jointly engage in this effort.
Fr. John Harhager, SM, president of Marist School, was called upon to supervise Marist School’s response. Fr. Bill Rowland, SM, was delegated to represent Fr. Harhager and to help coordinate Marist School’s response to this need. Marist parents of alumni, Sal and Mary Ann Arias, and Carlos Vizcaino, who directed the outreach to the Hispanic community at Our Lady of the Assumption, worked together to determine how best to utilize the resources available at Marist School. It was soon apparent that the need for GED certification among the Hispanic young adults was a critical. The Centro Hispano Marista, sponsored by the Society of Mary and hosted at Marist School, became the response to this need and the first classes were offered in the fall of 2012.