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TSTC Students Take Part in City Workshop

Friday, January 24, 2014
By Eladio Jaimez

Texas State Technical College students Anglai Jimenez and Francisco Rodriguez sat in a crowd comprised of city leaders and elected officials during the fourth and final public input meeting focused to identify community needs sponsored by the City of Harlingen.

Jimenez and Rodriguez, both from Harlingen, are enrolled in the Architectural Design and Engineering Graphics Program at TSTC and took advantage of the opportunity to be heard by city leaders and consultants on the needs of the community during the workshop at the Cultural Arts Center.

The public input meetings are part of a comprehensive plan process being organized by the city to identify key areas of strength and opportunity for improvement based on the community's needs. The latest workshop focused on Economic Vitality.

"It's good to get involved," Rodriguez said. "If we want change in our community, we have to take those steps and become more involved in the decision-making process. This was a great opportunity to stand up and voice our opinions and try to convince our leaders what we think is important to us."

Approximately 60-80 citizens attended the workshop and were divided into tables of eight-10 individuals to discuss all presentations and make suggestions to a panel of city and educational leaders.

Jimenez said sitting in the same group as some of the city's leading movers and shakers was a great experience for her.

"Just sitting there and being able to interact with these people was great in itself," Jimenez said.

The group of TSTC students and one student from Early College High School were recognized by the panel and applauded for getting involved in the open discussions of the comprehensive planning done by the city.

One day prior to the workshop, city planning consultant James Carrillo met with the Mustang Leadership Academy to receive more input on what the students considered the most pressing issues the city is facing concerning economic development.

"We need to get more involved in general," Rodriguez said. "This was a nice opportunity to voice our opinions but we need to keep getting involved if we want to see change. This was a good start."

The latest workshop included presentations by Harlingen school district superintendent Arturo Cavazos, UT Rio Grande Valley representative Randy Whittington and TSTC Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Research.

Garcia focused on the growth TSTC has experienced in the past few years in enrollment and graduation numbers and the college's impact on the city's economic growth.

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