Two women with one holding flowers

(SWEETWATER, Texas) – Summer Benivamondez always remembered the advice that her mother gave her when she began Texas State Technical College’s Vocational Nursing program.

“I remember my mom telling me that there would be dark times during school, but at the end of it all, it would be worth it,” Benivamondez said. “I knew I would have to be dedicated to school, my job and my family all at one time for one year. I ended up with the reward of a lifetime.”

That advice paid off for the Abilene native earlier this month when she earned her certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing. Prior to receiving her diploma, Benivamondez received her TSTC nursing pin, with her mother serving as the ceremony’s guest speaker.

“It meant the world to me for her to speak at the ceremony,” she said. “She was the person who made me want to be a nurse, and I am beginning to climb that career ladder like her.”

Karen Hernandez, Benivamondez’s mother and the health coordinator for Crockett Early Head Start in Abilene, knows the struggles that nursing students face on a daily basis.

“It is the best feeling to see your daughter, who is the mother of four, succeed in life and have so much love for a career,” she said.

Elizabeth Lynn, a Vocational Nursing instructor at TSTC’s Sweetwater campus, said Benivamondez showed the determination to succeed.

“She always worked hard to get where she is,” Lynn said. “I know she will succeed by following in her mother’s footsteps.”

Benivamondez credits her success to the TSTC instructors.

“They are a caring team and will support you in every situation,” she said.

While preparing to begin TSTC’s Associate Degree in Nursing program in August, Benivamondez will work for the Mitchell County Hospital District. For future nursing students, she said to follow the advice her mother provided when she started school.

“Stay motivated because I know it is easy to give up,” Benivamondez said. “If you give up, you will not see the rewards at the end of the journey.”

TSTC’s Vocational Nursing certificate of completion program is available at the Breckenridge, Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses. Upon completion of the program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination, graduates are classified as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs).

According to, LVN jobs were forecast to increase 17% in Texas between 2020 and 2030. The median annual salary for LVNs in Texas is $50,910, the website showed.

TSTC also offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.

For more information about TSTC, visit

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Summer Benivamondez (left) and Jordyn Martin, a TSTC Vocational Nursing instructor, embrace during the Fall Commencement ceremony. Benivamondez received a certificate of completion in Vocational Nursing.
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