(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Texas State Technical College instructor Sessia Wyche knows a thing or two about numbers.
The longtime educator previously worked at several other institutions before finding himself at TSTC, where he has been an instructor in the mathematics department since 2009.
Wyche, who last year was recognized by U.S. Congressman Filemon Vela with a Congressional Record for his dedication to teaching and ministry, knows that while his gift may be to teach, his calling is to give back.
Some of his volunteering has been spent as a chaplain at a juvenile justice center, a correction center and a hospital.
“When I was asked to be a chaplain at a hospital, it shocked me,” he said. “I thought they had the wrong telephone number. I was their chaplain for about 10 years.”
Wyche’s career as an educator found him when he was not looking.
“When I was working on my master’s degree, I was able to help students when I was a teaching assistant,” he said. “I loved helping others who were afraid of mathematics. I loved to see the expression on their faces change when they began to understand the numbers and problems.”
The Bay City native said that his inspiration to give to others comes from having felt the effects of segregation when he was growing up.
“I remember when I needed help, there was nobody who would help me,” he said. “I am the oldest out of nine children and the first to go to college. I was so lost. I was the only Black student in all of my classes for the first two years. I had never gone to an integrated school before, only segregated schools. It was a shock to me.”
Wyche said that the moments in which he felt alone are moments that he does not want any other student to feel.
“I did not know anyone,” he said. “I know what it feels like to be in a place where you are all alone and you need help, or you need help and are turned away. It used to hurt me so much. That’s why I like to help students and do community work.”
Wyche’s biggest influence was his father.
“My favorite teacher was a man who did not get further than the eighth grade,” he said. “My father taught me how to survive in the community. He told me that the system is not fair and that I cannot beat the system, but I can learn the system and work within the system and try to be as fair as I can to treat everybody else fairly. That is exactly what I try to do.”
Another inspiration in Wyche’s life has been his wife, Emilia, whom he married in 1976.
“Through everything that I have done, she has supported me 100 percent,” he said. “I am who I am because of her.”
Having spent his life solving equations, Wyche knows that age is nothing but a number.
“I have been blessed,” he said. “That’s why I am still teaching at the age of 75. I love giving back; it’s one of the reasons I don’t feel old. We should all pass out the knowledge that we possess.”
During the month of February, TSTC wants to honor the Black students, staff and faculty who make TSTC a special place to learn.
To learn more about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.