Waco Precision Machining Technology Luis Arizpe

(WACO, Texas) – A year ago, Luis Arizpe was preparing to graduate from Corsicana High School.

“It goes by pretty quick,” he said. “I could have graduated this year (from high school), but now I am graduating college by the time my friends graduate from high school. That is awesome.”

Arizpe, of Emhouse in Navarro County, is pursuing a certificate of completion in Precision Machining Technology at Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus. He is scheduled to graduate in August.

Arizpe is the first in his family to attend college.

“My parents weren’t able to go to college, and they did everything for us,” he said. “I am doing it to give back to them. I look forward to them coming to watch me graduate, which will be a pretty good feeling.”

Hayden Hood, who is from Boerne and is one of Arizpe’s Precision Machining Technology classmates, tutored him during the first semester when they took Machine Shop Mathematics together.

“We pulled a few all-nighters working on homework,” Hood said. “He won’t leave here until he knows something. He likes to fully understand things and not go through the routine.”

Arizpe was born in Galveston and lived in the Houston area before moving with his family to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, for two years when he was in elementary school. He said his parents always encouraged him and his siblings to maintain good grades.

“I grew up speaking Spanish,” he said. “They (Mexican students) spoke it way better than me, so I had to get used to a lot of things. Even the hours at school and everything was different.”

Arizpe’s family returned to Texas and eventually settled in Navarro County. He said adjusting back to American schools was difficult.

“There were so many more classes I had to take,” he said. “I was not good with numbers, reading or writing until I came here (to TSTC), and I became way better.”

While at Corsicana High School, Arizpe participated in baseball, basketball, football, and shot put on the track team. He also took welding classes and earned dual credit.

Arizpe said he wanted to graduate from high school early, so he took additional classes in his junior and senior years. He also thought about life after high school, which at the time looked like a construction career.

But his father recommended that he work at a CNC (computer numerical control) machine shop in Navarro County.

“I started liking the CNC stuff and computers, and I wanted to expand my skills and knowledge,” Arizpe said.

He said his high school organized a field trip to TSTC to tour the campus in spring 2023, and the first program he visited was Precision Machining Technology.

“They (the instructors) give you so much, and you want to give it your all and at the same time handle everything,” Arizpe said.

Jeremy Bailey, an instructor in TSTC’s Precision Machining Technology program, said Arizpe has been a model representative for the program.

“Along with being a great student in class, he has also been a huge help to us by translating during our Spanish-speaking tours and at open houses,” Bailey said. “I am glad he chose to join our program.”

Arizpe said other students poised to be the first in their families to go to college should find something they like to do and not necessarily follow the lead of others.

Arizpe has been looking for jobs in the machining field. He said he gained more confidence in doing this by participating in an interview practicum that TSTC’s Career Services department held during the spring semester.

Registration continues for the fall semester at TSTC. For more information, go to tstc.edu.

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