(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA is no easy task. Graduating with one after serving your country in the U.S. Marines is even harder.
However, for San Benito native Mauricio Cruz, commitment, focus and determination are second nature. Those attributes helped Cruz become one of the few Texas State Technical College students to finish his degree as a TSTC Board of Regents honor graduate.
“I don’t think I ever grew accustomed to the school environment,” he said. “That was the biggest challenge, especially after coming from a military background.”
Cruz was on active duty from 2012 to 2016 before being honorably discharged as a corporal in the Marines.
“I was attached to a unit named Marine Corps Security Forces,” he said of his time in Virginia. “I served as platoon armorer.”
While a military background did pose a challenge in terms of his environment, he kept in mind that the key to success in college was maintaining a keen focus on academics.
“I knew that all I had to do was study, do my homework and pay attention.”
Cruz’s love of the outdoors inspired him to earn an associate degree in agricultural technology.
“I have always enjoyed agriculture, such as cattle and the outdoors,” he said. “I figured if I was going to start college, it would have to be for something I enjoy.”
Cruz’s journey to the finish line would not have been the same without an instructor who had quite an impact on him.
“Mr. (Sammy) Gavito was hands down the best Instructor I have ever had,” Cruz said. “Not just as a teacher, but as a person, he was just amazing and very passionate when he would pass down his knowledge to his students.”
While Cruz dedicated earlier years in service to his country, he is not quite done yet.
“I hope to one day work for U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” he said. “It is not a short process, but it is something I will be striving for.”
With many students getting ready to start college in the fall, Cruz offered advice on how they too can achieve a perfect 4.0 GPA.
“Pay attention in class, take notes, do your homework and stay focused,” he said. “Do that, and you will be just fine.”
Cruz’s hobbies do not stray too far from what he was studying.
“I enjoy my time off caring for my chickens and cattle,” he said. “I’m always making sure they stay at their best.”
Fall registration is currently underway. To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.