TWO HISTORIC MARKS SET AT GRADUATION - TSTC
by Dave Ralph
Graduates become a part of Texas State Technical College Harlingen’s history at each commencement, but the ceremony December 10 in the TSTC Cultural Arts Center featured two special occasions.
The event entered the history books as the first college commencement held on campus and the new Wind Energy Technology Program awarded Certificate of Completion diplomas to its first set of graduates. “The college has reached or surpassed many goals during the past two years as we have worked to improve the caliber of our graduates, whether they are entering the work force or pursuing a university degree,” President Dr. Cesar Maldonado said. “This historic commencement allowed us to reflect on what we have accomplished together, recognize individuals for their academic achievements, and look to the future with optimism.”
The 137 fall semester graduates included 15 WET graduates and four of the WET graduates (Ramsey Garcia, Antonio Gonzalez, Eliazar Gonzalez and Bill J. Warren) received recognition as Board of Regents honor graduates for earning a 4.0 grade point average – the equivalent of straight A’s. Other honor graduates included Jacob Howell with an AAS degree in Computer Drafting & Design Technology and Erick Casillas with a Certificate of Completion in Machining Technology.
“TSTC was a great experience for me,” Howell said. “All the instructors in my major were knowledgeable and very helpful. Anyone interested in architecture or designing machine parts should definitely enroll in Computer Drafting & Design Technology.”
He switched from a civil engineering major at the University of Houston to TSTC after he changed his career path. Howell plans to seek employment within the oil industry around Houston and possibly pursue a bachelor’s degree. He studied whenever spare time was available and he thanked his family for support.
“Lectures were my biggest challenge because I am a hands-on learner,” he said. “Luckily, all of my TSTC instructors had their lecture slides on Moodle so I was able to go back and cover anything I missed in class.”
Melissa Zamora, a 2007 graduate of Harlingen High School South, received an AAS degree in Education and Training. She teaches at the NINOS HeadStart Center on the TSTC campus and she plans to transfer her credits into the bachelor’s degree program offered by Texas A&M University-Kingsville to teach early education through sixth grade. Construction of the new University Center at TSTC – scheduled for completion for fall semester 2011 – might allow her to earn the bachelor’s degree without leaving Harlingen.
“TSTC taught me that the education process can be accessible for students. The experience made me aware of how a college can assist students and I hope my students will seek my support with the same kind of trust,” she said.
She learned leadership skills through her Teacher Assistant Club membership, recruitment work as a member of G-Force and volunteering for community service projects. Zamora added, “TSTC has free academic tutorials, free financial aid workshops, special programs through the Support Services Office, and courteous police who helped me fix my flat tire and unlock my car.”
Dr. Nolan E. Perez, a gastroenterologist in Harlingen who serves on the Harlingen public schools Board of Trustees, urged graduates, parents and families to promote higher education. He expressed gratitude for people who served as his mentors and role models, and said that adults should become involved with the “power of relationships” while helping youngsters.
“Reach out to youngsters and bring the next generation up to your level,” he told graduates.
He advised graduates to further their education through courses and credits or professional training. “You should think beyond the achievements we celebrate tonight, he said. “Ask yourselves if you have reached the education and career goals you really have in mind. Be open to new opportunities; always look about five years down the road and write out a plan for how to get where you want to go.”
Dave Ralph, Communications Writer
Texas State Technical College
1902 North Loop 499 | Harlingen, TX | 78550-3653
956.364.4113 office | 956.357.4641 cell | 956.364.5105 fax
This e-mail contains the thoughts and opinions of Dave Ralph and does not represent official TSTC policy.