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Nearly 200 Walk Stage at TSTC's Winter Commencement

Friday, December 6, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

CommencementStep by step and with her daughter Miranda Marquette by her side, Doreen Marquette is now a college graduate.

Miranda and Doreen were among the nearly 200 graduates at the Texas State Technical College Winter Commencement at MMA's Yeckel Auditorium on Friday.

Doreen graduated with a certificate of completion from the Business Management Technology Program. Miranda collected Associate's degrees in biology, nursing prep and an academic core certificate of completion. Doreen works at TSTC as a financial aid representative and will continue to do so as she pursues her associate's degree. Miranda is already enrolled in nursing school at Brookhaven College in Dallas.

"I wasn't going to do it without her," Doreen said. "When I started working here I got the extra push I needed to go back to school but it was mostly her."

Miranda was ecstatic to share the stage with her mom on the special night.

"Not a lot of people can say they graduated from college with their parents," Miranda said. "I'm proud of both of us. We were there for each other and cried together for bad grades and congratulated each other on the good ones."

Harlingen ISD Superintendent Art Cavazos delivered the commencement speech. Cavazos talked about his modest upbringing and how he and his five siblings were first-generation college graduates. Today, two other siblings serve as superintendents as well in Arlington ISD and Goose Creek ISD, near Houston.

"Being a graduate of TSTC and any higher education institution represents an opportunity," Cavazos said. "An education opens doors but with opportunity comes responsibility."

Cavazos reminded the graduates to help others, remain humble and always do the right thing even when no one is watching.

There were seven Board of Regents Scholars at this commencement including Joseph Mitchell and John Bernshausen. A BOR Scholar is a student who graduates with a 4.0 Grade Point Average, or all A's in all their courses.

Mitchell, whose wife Regina Mitchell-Garza is an Associate Vice-President for Student Learning at TSTC, returned to school after spending most his adult life in the military and working in the cable industry. He graduated from the Automotive Collision Technology Program.

Bernshausen is from Angleton, near Houston, and earned his Associate's in Applied Science in Wind Energy Technology. Bernshausen attended classes at the Ingleside campus and already landed a job with Sky Climber Wind Solutions as a traveling wind technician.

"I owe a lot to the Listers," Bernshausen said. George and Trish Lister run the Ingleside campus and work closely with the WET students there. "It's nice to finally be here tonight."

Tommy Lockhart also graduated from the WET Program and earned his certificate of completion and associate's degree. He's a veteran of the United States Navy and was excited about earning his degree.

"It really means a lot to me," Lockhart said. I was never the school type but being in the Navy taught me responsibility."

Maura Lopez, a 2008 graduate of Harlingen High School, graduated with an Associates in Education in Training and is enrolled at Texas A&M-Kingsville through the University Center to pursue her bachelor's in education.

Lopez, who was given up for adoption as a child, said she knew from a young age that she wanted to be an educator. On Friday she took her first step to achieving that goal.

"I owe a lot to the Valencia and Gonzalez families," Lopez said. "They gave me that push I needed to stay and finish school."

TSTC President also expressed his congratulations to the graduates.

"This is a beginning and that's what makes it exciting to all of us here at TSTC," Maldonado said. "This is the culmination of their effort. Tonight is a celebration of success. It's not only the completion of one chapter but beginning of a new one."

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