(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The excitement of graduation was electric as Texas State Technical College celebrated the return to an in-person ceremony at the Fall 2021 Commencement held Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg.
More than 300 graduates from TSTC’s Harlingen campus walked across the stage with smiles gleaming and accepted a TSTC certificate of completion or an associate degree.
While some graduates are transitioning into new careers, others are solidifying their destinies.
Ede Flores, of Weslaco, graduated with a certificate of completion in Paramedic. A few years ago, he first earned a certificate of completion in Emergency Medical Technician. Then he entered the workforce as an EMT with the Mercedes, Texas, Fire Department.
“This is great success because it has been my goal to reach the Paramedic certificate,” he said. “I now have all three certificates from the EMS (Emergency Medical Services) program. It gives me the opportunity to fully help the community in the wake of this pandemic.”
Katherine Gonzalez, of Harlingen, graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing. She is ecstatic to become the first registered nurse in her immediate family.
“I plan to keep going and reach my goal of becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist,” she said. “TSTC has transformed my life by allowing me to grow in my profession and giving me the confidence to practice safely in the workplace.”
Cledia Hernandez, TSTC’s associate vice chancellor for External Relations and Workforce Development, congratulated the graduates as they go into the workforce.
“This is a celebration of the culmination of the lessons learned from our previous classes during this pandemic of how to be resilient and have clear focus in everything that we do,” she said.
“We shifted these individuals’ mindsets to be even more on high alert for safety. Now, wherever they go, they can create and maintain that environment.”
Amanda Posada, TSTC’s Harlingen campus interim provost and statewide dual enrollment executive director, welcomed the graduates and thanked the TSTC family for their tireless support.
“We want to congratulate our 2021 graduates on their accomplishment,” she said. “They overcame challenges presented by COVID-19 over the past couple of years and were determined to stay the course. The skills and training earned at TSTC have prepared them for their career, and we are so very proud of them and their continued success.”
In addition to the commencement ceremony itself, Lizzy de la Garza Putegnat, of Harlingen, was sworn in as a member of the TSTC Board of Regents.
She has been an account executive for Schneider Electric for six years. She has worked closely with secondary and postsecondary educational institutions in collaborative efforts to help ensure an educated and highly skilled workforce.
Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is underway. For more information, go to tstc.edu.