(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Harlingen’s Juan Garcia knows the value of an education. He passed that value on to his son, who is now attending Texas State Technical College.
Garcia obtained his GED through TSTC and was thankful the college staff showed him different career options. But he did not stop after earning his first associate degree.
“They guided me each step of the way. They showed me the different programs that were available at TSTC,” he recalled of his first time attending TSTC in 2000-01.
Garcia took advantage of one of those programs and earned a certificate in Automotive Technology.
“Two years later, I received an associate degree in Automotive Technology because I wanted to become an instructor at TSTC,” Garcia said.
Then something changed. Garcia was introduced to the world of machining.
He returned to TSTC and earned both a certificate and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Precision Machining. Prior to his graduating in 2015, Delta Centrifugal Casting in Temple offered him a job.
Even at work, Garcia has not stopped educating himself.
“I have cross-trained to move myself up at Delta,” he said. “Today, I run the stock area at our facility.”
His TSTC instructor, Isaac Gonzalez, knew Garcia would be a good fit at Delta.
“I spoke with him at an event, and he was interested in what the machine shop was. After that, he loved the fact that if he thought of it, he could make it,” Gonzalez said. “The thing that got him was that Delta is a great company, and all of the students there felt at home. With Juan, Delta loved his commitment and hard work, and that led to his promotions. As instructors, this means that we are teaching the right things — that students can start from the bottom and with hard work you can climb the ladder.”
Garcia credited TSTC for preparing him for the workforce, which in turn has led him to personal milestones.
“I signed off on my house, and that was awesome,” he said. “I would not have succeeded if it were not for all of my instructors and everyone at TSTC.”
Garcia is proud that his 19-year-old son, Juan Alexander Garcia, continued the family tradition at TSTC. The younger Garcia is currently taking classes in digital imaging at the Harlingen campus.
“I have always told him that education should be the first step. Every parent preaches that to their children,” Juan Garcia said. “I am watching him work toward success. In the end, I know that he is going to see the results that TSTC has done for me.”
Juan Alexander Garcia said watching his father take classes motivated him.
“I wanted to make a better life for myself and my family,” he said of the decision to attend TSTC. “I watched my dad taking classes, and I knew that I wanted to do the same thing.”
The younger Garcia is finishing his second semester at TSTC, and he already knows what he wants to pursue.
“I plan to open a photo studio so that I can teach other people,” he said. “I want to inspire people to see things from a different perspective.”
Like his father, Juan Alexander Garcia said the TSTC faculty and staff have helped him on a daily basis.
“Everyone is very responsive and willing to help you. TSTC is a great place to go to school,” he said.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.