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Summer Programs Kick Off at TSTC

Friday, June 7, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

MAARSSummer vacation doesn't mean the learning stops for over 200 area middle and high school students.

The MAARS (Migrant Academic Achievement Residential Summer), TexPREP (Texas PreFreshman Engineering Program) and Upward Bound programs at Texas State Technical College kickoff Sunday and Monday on campus. The programs are aimed at exposing students to the college atmosphere and getting them to start thinking about college at an early age.

Adan Trevino heads up MAARS, which works with high school seniors and juniors and prepares them for college life. MAARS students enroll in a six-week summer program where they come on campus and stay in the dorms. The hope is that early exposure to college life will motivate the students to stay in high school and move on to college.

The students check into the dorms on Sunday and will remain on campus until July 19. Last year, MAARS accommodated approximately 60 students. This year, Trevino and his staff expect 65 students from across the Valley and Laredo.

During the six-week period, the students will take high school credit courses for classes they might have missed during the school year due to their migrant worker status. Last year, 15 seniors went on to graduate high school and earned scholarships to attend college, Trevino said.

Trevino also oversees the TexPREP program which will accommodate 170 students this year and gets under way on Monday.

TexPREP is open to students in grades sixth through 10th from school districts across the Valley. TexPREP is a four-year program and students are invited back every year depending on their academic standing at their schools.

Students take math and science classes with an emphasis on engineering. All students are bused from their school districts and attend classes from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. over a seven-week period Monday through Thursday. For every year completed, the student gets one high school elective credit.

The Upward Bound Summer Program also gets under way on Monday.

Melissa Manrique leads that effort and she expects 50 students to take part in the six-week program at TSTC that focuses on academic enrichment.

Students take classes in math, science, English, Spanish and music and art appreciation.

"It's a laid back atmosphere," Manrique said. "We hire instructors from the two school districts (Harlingen and San Benito) and they lead the classes."

There are two field trips scheduled for the students over the six-week period. The students will travel to Texas A&M University-Kingsville and to Our Lady of the Lake University and Fiesta Texas in San Antonio.

For more information on these summer programs visit http://www.tstc.edu/harlingencollegeready/programs.

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