(ROSENBERG, Texas) – In an evening that felt special in both its normalcy and its revelry, about 100 Texas State Technical College students from the Fort Bend County campus became TSTC graduates Tuesday, Dec. 14, in a commencement ceremony at the Stafford Centre.
In the crowd, families cheered on their graduates, shouting out encouragement and terms of endearment — and even waving oversized cutouts of faces.
Laughter filled the auditorium as one graduate pirouetted her way onto the stage.
It was the first in-person commencement for TSTC since the onset of COVID-19.
“We’re glad to be able to reopen,” said Randy Wooten, provost of TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus. “This is a first big step, and we’re doing it safely — just like the rest of Texas.”
Wooten looked forward to the sense of achievement that TSTC’s newest graduates would have as their families watched them walk and accept their Associate of Applied Science degrees, certificates of completion and occupational skills awards.
“It’s a celebration,” he said.
TSTC associate provost Bryan Bowling encouraged this semester’s graduates to find their silver lining — like so many companies and other individuals did during the pandemic.
“Even though things have changed, there are plenty of opportunities,” he said. “Even some new ones.”
TSTC graduate Colman Von Krippner, of Katy, was excited about the experience of celebrating his accomplishments in TSTC’s Industrial Systems program.
“It’s the conclusion of everything I’ve been working toward,” he said, adding that he hopes to get a job as a maintenance technician that allows him room to grow professionally.
Jose Perez Jr., a Welding Technology graduate, looked forward to the opportunity to walk across the stage.
And as for how he planned on celebrating?
“Driving two hours home,” the Bloomington resident said with a laugh. With that trek completed, he would likely do something with his family.
Adrian Paniagua, an Electrical Lineworker Technology honors graduate from El Campo, earned a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average along with his certificate of completion.
“It was smooth,” he said of his experience with the program. “It really worked out for me. I would definitely recommend it to others.”
Meredith Watassek, the CTE director of Fort Bend ISD and the commencement speaker, lauded the graduates for their hard work. In her speech, she urged them to show others the value of their technical training and career paths.
“You have a responsibility to train up those around you,” Watassek said. “You have a responsibility to do your very best and, most importantly, a responsibility to make yourself proud. Congratulations on your enormous accomplishments. We all look forward to watching you succeed and following in your footsteps.”
Enrollment for the spring semester at TSTC is underway. Learn more at tstc.edu.