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Willacy Residents Taking Advantage of TSTC Satellite Campus

Thursday, January 17, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

President Cesar Maldonado speaking at the satellite opening back in September.

Texas State Technical College Associate Vice-President for College Readiness and Advancement Javier De Leon said the feedback on the TSTC Raymondville Satellite Center has been positive after one semester that it’s been operating.

The Raymondville Satellite, housed at the Raymondville Rural Technical Training Center, opened in September 2012. De Leon said TSTC officials along with city, school district and county officials from Willacy County expect the center to continue growing in the coming years.

De Leon said no other school in the TSTC system has opened a satellite center like this yet.

“We are the pioneers for something like this,” De Leon said. “And it’s been so successful that other communities like La Feria and Santa Rosa have expressed interest in similar services.”

De Leon said his office evaluates the center on a monthly basis in order to stay updated with the needs of the center. But a big evaluation is coming up in May, De Leon said, which will dictate how the center will move forward in the coming years.

“We’re always excited about all the compliments we’re getting but there are still kinks that we need to be ironed out,” De Leon said. “We can still be bigger, better and stronger.”

“The community is excited with us being there,” De Leon added. “We’ve had a lot of positive response from the community. People feel like they now have a college in their backyard. We’re offering a lot of opportunities and the people over there are starting to take advantage.”

De Leon said the Raymondville Satellite serves in four capacities.

The satellite offers a basic skills program where students can go and get their GED. And while this is the service that gets the most publicity, it’s not the only service being offered at the new satellite center.

De Leon was quick to point out that students can take Accuplacer tests at the center as well. Accuplacer testing allows a student to test out of remedial classes and go straight into taking college courses.

The center also provides tutoring to students in Willacy County. De Leon said approximately 350 TSTC students reside in Willacy County and the center gives them a chance to stay near their home to get tutoring in math, reading and writing instead of driving to Harlingen.

And on Fridays, the center also offers computer literacy classes to anyone interested.

De Leon applauded the efforts made by school district, city and county elected officials in Willacy County that have made this center possible.

“We told them we’d bring TSTC to Raymondville and they were on board,” De Leon said. “But we needed a financial commitment from them. This is a true partnership between TSTC and Willacy County.”

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