West Texas graduates

(ABILENE, Texas) – Texas State Technical College graduates agreed that hard work paid off after receiving their diplomas during the West Texas commencement ceremony Monday, Dec. 13, at the Abilene Convention Center.

More than 100 fall 2021 graduates walked the stage to receive their diplomas during the first in-person TSTC commencement ceremony since fall 2019.

“Tonight means the completion of two years of hard work paying off,” said Chase Carey, who earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Powerplant Technology with honors. “Earning the honors means that all of my late nights of studying were worth the time and effort.”

Edward Deanda, who earned a certificate of completion in Aircraft Powerplant Technology, also graduated with honors.

“These honors accomplishments mean so much to me,” Deanda said. “But I am not through because I am coming back to work on a backup career in Digital Media Design. I want to have something to fall back on, and TSTC is the place to do that.”

For Omar Alvarez, it was the completion of a second degree program. After earning a degree in Automotive Technology, he returned to TSTC and earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Airframe Technology. He graduated as a TSTC Board of Regents Honor Roll member.

“It was a lot of work for me, and it was worth it because I maintained a 4.0 grade-point average during each semester,” he said. “The best part is I now have a job lined up and am ready to start my career.”

Alfred Rodriguez also added to his TSTC collection of TSTC degrees. After earning a certificate of completion in Diesel Equipment Technology, he added an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems.

“This is a great day for me, and I am so excited because it has already paid off for me at work,” he said.

Kiana Abarintos said she can now pursue her passion in aviation with her Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Powerplant Technology.

“My father was in aviation for 20 years, and it was always something I wanted to do,” she said. “When my husband was transferred to Dyess Air Force Base, I did my research and found TSTC had an aviation program. I am so proud of myself for achieving this goal in my life.”

Misty Burton, who earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing, also realized a dream.

“This was 16 years in the making,” she said. “I graduated in licensed vocational nursing when my baby was a baby. That was 16 years ago, and I have completed my goal of completing the program. This has been an amazing experience.”

Ken Becker, interim executive director of the Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development, said students were given a key during the ceremony.

“The key is your hard work. The key is the completion of your studies,” he said. “The key is the certificate or associate degree that you will walk across the stage tonight to receive. It’s the key that can take you places you want to go.”

Registration for the spring semester at TSTC is underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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