The Life of Houston: George R. Brown Convention Centerby Cruz A. Carrasco

1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, Texas 77010
713-853-8000 800-427-4697 713-853-8090/fax
ccinfo@cityofhouston.net

April 2004–Are you sure that you cannot find a place to visit here in Houston? If your answer to this question is yes, then come and visit the great George R. Brown Convention Center. The George R. Brown Convention Center is a building that really represents the city of Houston, which has a large Hispanic community. Thus, the George R. Brown Convention Center is not just a building, it is the place where the Hispanic community unites and strengthens its culture.

The George R. Brown convention center opened on September 26, 1987. The convention center is located on the east side of downtown Houston, which makes it very easy for you to find and visit at least once while being here in Houston. In 2001 the convention center was expanded and an adjacent hotel, which has 1,200 rooms, was built. The convention center has many exhibition halls on the first floor. These halls are very big and the only things that you can see are the large walls that separate one from the other. Three more exhibit halls were added during the expansion to increase the space for exhibition. The second floor consists of large conference and meeting rooms. During the expansion sixty-two meeting rooms were also added for a total of 105. Different events that promote education and cultural awareness as well as entertainment take place in the big exhibition halls of this great building. These events take place throughout the whole year and anyone can attend them.

An event that promotes education awareness is the Houston Hispanic Forum College and Career Day, which takes place at the beginning of every year, and is planned to teach parents and students about the importance of pursuing a higher education. Representatives from colleges and universities, as well as those from important organizations, set up small booths to present information that will answer some of the questions that parents and students have about college and career planning.

I attended this event during my junior year in high school. My high school counselor planned a field trip to the convention center so that we could attend the College and Career Day. I took the permission slip home for my dad to sign and told him what the field trip was about. He said that he would go with me and that surprised me because it showed that he was interested in my education. When we entered we saw many parents and students walking around and talking to the representatives. They were talking about the requisites needed to attend college and how to find financial assistance. There were representatives from the University of Houston and some of its different departments giving information on the things that they take into consideration for admittance into the university.

I heard a conversation between a representative and a parent. The college representative said, “The SAT is a very important test that your children should take before they apply to the University.”

The parent asked him, “When should they take this test?”

The representative responded “They can take it during their senior year in high school,” and he also added, “It would be best if they take it during the beginning of the year before the winter break.”

The parent thanked him for his time and amiability and walked towards another booth with his children.

There were also representatives from the U.S. Department of Education giving information on how to get financial assistance by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). I heard another conversation between one of these representatives and another parent.

The parent asked him “Where can we get the application?”

The representative answered his question by saying “The student can get the application from his high school counselor.”

Then the parent asked “What is needed to fill out the application?”

The representative said “The income tax returns from the previous year, bank statements, and personal information such as your social security number is needed.”

Another question that the parent asked was “When should we fill the application?”

The representative said, “The application is available from January until June, and it would be best if you fill it out very early after you file your income tax return.”

The parent was very grateful towards the representative and also thanked him for his time and proceeded to the next booth.

There were also representatives from different organizations, which also gave important information about financial assistance in the form of scholarships, such as local TV broadcasting network Univision. I saw a few parents and students taking photographs with some of the news reporters of the local TV network. In addition to the booth from the local TV network there were also booths with representatives from local community markets such as Fiesta, Kroger, and Randalls to mention a few. My dad and I personally talked to the representative from Fiesta. He told us that they provide scholarships to students that work with Fiesta, who are exceptional workers as well as students. After talking to him we thanked him for his patience and time and proceeded to visit the other booths nearby. After visiting the majority of the booths we decided to return home. Since we spent most of the day at the Houston Hispanic Forum event, we were very hungry and so we stopped at a restaurant on the way back to our house. When we arrived at home my dad said that he was very happy for having accompanied me to the event and that he had learned a lot of important information about college.

As I mentioned above, the George R. Brown convention center is home to events that also promote cultural awareness. An event that reflects this is the one called Fiestas Patrias that takes place in mid September of every year. This event that promotes the Hispanic culture, mostly the Mexican one, is put together by radio broadcasting stations such as Stereo Latino 102.9 FM, Que Buena 93.3 FM, and La Tremenda 1010 AM. I first went to this event with my cousin on a Sunday. We waited in line because there were a lot people who were trying to get in. As we entered we saw a lot of booths that had been set up by the representatives from the radio stations. We also saw many people walking around and visiting the different booths. The representatives from the radio stations set up the booths with flyers and games so that the people could have some fun and earn some prizes such as t-shirts and key chains.

My cousin and I had a lot fun playing some of the games and trying out fun things. After visiting most of the booths we started to walk towards the big crowd where people were taking a seat in one of the many rows filled with chairs in front of a big stage. They were doing this because they were getting ready to witness the main part of the event. The main part of the event is when many famous Hispanic artists perform in front of a lot of the people that attend the event. They sing some of their songs, which the people listen to the most, and the people can record their presentation with video cameras and take photographs of the artists. My cousin reached the middle of the crowd and took some photographs of the artists that were performing. There was a lot of commotion going on and the people seemed to be having a great and wonderful time. After it was all over my cousin and I returned home happily because we had just attended such a wonderful and great event.

The George R. Brown convention center is also home to events that promote entertainment such as car shows and the one that is going on right now called the NFL experience. I have not been to any of these, but it seems that a lot of people attend them. I know this because one of my friends went to a car show and he said that there were a lot of people that attended the event. He also told me that there were a lot of cars being exhibited, which were very modern and ranged from luxury all the way to racing cars. These cars are from here as well as imported from other countries such as Japan. They are of many different makes and models and their price is very high, which makes them very expensive cars. I saw from the news that a lot of people were going to the George R. Brown convention center a few weeks ago to see what the NFL experience felt like. This event was being use to promote the NFL Super Bowl which was played here in Houston. There are many different games that had been set up at the convention center during the event so that parents as well as children can try them and have a wonderful time with the whole family.

Thus, the George R. Brown Convention Center is a great building that really reflects what the city of Houston is all about. It is home to many events by which the Hispanic community here in Houston promotes its culture. Some of these events promote education and cultural awareness such as the Houston Hispanic Forum college and career day, which takes place in mid January, and the Fiestas Patrias, which takes place in mid September. Others promote entertainment such as the car shows and the NFL Experience, which was going on some weeks ago. It is very easy to attend these events because they take place throughout the whole year and the whole family can attend them.

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