(THROCKMORTON, Texas) – The power of a college education was highlighted during a recent assembly at Throckmorton Collegiate Independent School District.
Tim Luna and Josh Woods, both graduates of Throckmorton Collegiate High School, each earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Wind Energy Technology at Texas State Technical College’s Sweetwater campus in December.
At the assembly, the two men signed agreements to work for Texas energy delivery company Oncor and talked about their college experience.
“The ceremony showed the power of early college high schools,” said Charles Mims, Throckmorton Collegiate ISD’s superintendent. “Schools like Throckmorton are opening the doors to earn a college education. We wanted to show current students what is available to them after high school.”
Throckmorton Collegiate ISD pays for its students, through the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program, to attend the first two years of college or get on a path to earn an associate degree from a two-year school like TSTC.
Brittany Williams, director of strategic partnerships at Collegiate Edu-Nation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering rural school districts to support and educate students, set up the assembly to showcase Luna and Woods’ success story.
“This is a very special place because you have strong leadership in the community that wants to see students succeed,” she said.
Luna said his time at TSTC was rewarding due to the P-TECH program and the support of his family, friends and instructors.
“I wanted to tell the students that if they do not take advantage of the tuition payment program, they are just wasting it,” Luna said. “This was one of the best ways for me, and many others, to attend college and get a job.”
Woods echoed Luna’s appreciation.
“It means a lot that they helped us go to college,” Woods said. “Everything I was able to accomplish was because of the school district helping me.”
Osiris Luna, Tim Luna’s mother, was emotional watching her son sign with Oncor.
“He is a first-generation college graduate,” she said. “This would not have been possible for our family if he did not take advantage of the P-TECH program.”
Luna and Woods were joined at the assembly by Billie Jones, a TSTC Wind Energy Technology instructor.
“There are many job opportunities for people in this area,” she told the students in attendance. “You can have the opportunity to stay close to home. Take advantage of what you have in school. If you want to work in a field where you will be able to travel, TSTC has many opportunities.”
The job outlook for the wind energy industry is bright. According to onetonline.org, the need for wind turbine service technicians in Texas was forecast to increase 102% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary for a technician in Texas is $56,640, according to the website.
TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and a certificate of completion at the Harlingen and Sweetwater campuses.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.