Members of Dallas-based Education is Freedom wrapped up their three-day Texas State Technical College tour at the Waco campus' Electrical Lineworker pole yard on Thursday, July 27.

(WACO, Texas) – DeVaughnta Johnson, a higher education advisor at David W. Carter High School in Dallas, summed up the purpose of a recent three-day visit by a group of 20 educators to Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus.

“I hope to gain resources that I can take back to my students and put them in the best position when deciding postsecondary options,” he said.

The visit was part of TSTC’s TECHcelerate program, a summer showcase for high school counselors, principals, and career and technical education teachers.

All of the tour group’s members are part of Dallas-based Education is Freedom, a nonprofit organization that helps young people pursue college educations.

“When Texas students consider their wide range of college options, the counselors and teachers at their high schools can be invaluable resources of information,” said Mike Reeser, TSTC’s chancellor and CEO. “Thanks to the TECHcelerate program, these essential mentors have a firsthand understanding of the high-earning pathways that are available at TSTC.”

Participants got a sampling of the many programs, from Aviation to Culinary Arts to Welding Technology, that the college has to offer. Some even suited up and tried climbing the practice utility poles used by Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology students.

Rebecca Burns, a higher education advisor with Early College at Grand Prairie High School, enjoyed taking part in a virtual reality demonstration in Automotive Technology.

“We had a chance to do the VR and learned how to do an oil change, and it was so much fun. I learned a lot just from doing that.”

Jazzlyn Manning, a higher education advisor at Lincoln High School in Dallas, was surprised to learn that an associate degree in a technical field of study typically earns the graduate a salary that outperforms the average bachelor’s degree.

“I think (an associate degree) is very valuable, especially for kids in South Dallas who are coming from poverty,” she said. “This is definitely something that could give them a lot more financial stability as well.”

The group’s visit culminated with a luncheon and graduation ceremony on Thursday, July 27, at the campus’ Col. James T. Connally Aerospace Center. There, its members received certificates stating that they had completed a required training course approved by the Texas Education Agency and were awarded 22 continuing professional education credits.

“I’ve seen some participants become emotional when they learn of the lucrative possibilities that TSTC can offer some of their students,” Reeser said. “It’s moving for us to see the care they have for their students.”

For more information about Education is Freedom, visit

Registration is underway for TSTC’s fall semester. For more information, visit

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