TSTC Dental Hygiene instructor Lucretia Human places a lab coat on William Torres, a graduating TSTC Dental Hygiene student, to recognize him as a dental hygienist during a recent pinning ceremony.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College recently held a pinning ceremony at the Harlingen campus to honor a group of 25 new Dental Hygiene program graduates for their devotion to providing the best dental care possible.

Each graduate held back their emotions as they were presented with a pin that signifies their completion of the program and anticipation of the dental hygiene profession. They also received a ceremonial lab coat and turned to their families with gleaming smiles.

Lucretia Human, a TSTC Dental Hygiene instructor, said seeing the graduates receive their pins made her proud.

“As dental hygienists, we are a community of professionals devoted to the prevention of disease and the promotion and improvement of the public’s health,” she said. “Our actions, behaviors and attitudes are consistent with our commitment to public service.”

Anna San Pedro, associate provost for TSTC’s Harlingen campus, said the graduates’ hard work, dedication and passion for oral health brought them to the exciting milestone.

“Congratulations on your graduation,” she told the graduates. “As you embark on a new chapter in this journey, stay committed to your passion for dental hygiene and continue to make a positive impact in the lives of your patients. Most importantly, build trust and rapport with your patients.”

An award for excellence in radiology was presented to graduate Blanche Trevino.

“Blanche has never turned down a patient for a radiologic exam,” said Vivienne Cermeno, a TSTC Dental Hygiene instructor. “She exhibited excellence in theory and clinical application of dental radiographic concepts, skills, safety and patient care.”

One of the graduating students who received her pin was Victoria DeLeon, of Mission. She felt grateful to be part of the ceremony.

“I’m nervous, but it’s well worth it after two years of hard work,” she said. “My goal is to start my career in the Rio Grande Valley. I do like the idea of working for a private practice because there’s more of an opportunity to build rapport with a patient.”

William Torres, of Harlingen, said his educational journey at TSTC has been gratifying.

“Being able to help my patients improve their oral health was a great feeling,” he said. “It made me proud when they thanked me for making them smile again.”

The graduating students recited the Dental Hygiene Oath at the event’s conclusion.

According to onetonline.org, dental hygienists in Texas can earn an average annual salary of $77,600. The need for hygienists in the state is expected to grow 32% by 2030.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene at the Harlingen campus.

Registration for the fall semester is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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