(WACO, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Waco campus kicked off the new academic year on Monday.

TSTC students, faculty and staff are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines in wearing masks, not gathering in groups, and sanitizing hands and work areas. All of this is being done due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I sincerely hope that everyone will greet your classmates back and extend a welcome and helping hand to those who are new,” said Patti Tate, TSTC’s interim provost. “When you are returning or new, you are off to an exciting start to learn and obtain skills and abilities to get you that great-paying job.”

Diesel Equipment Technology students noticed a big change, with engines being moved to a building that once housed the Solar Energy Technology program and tractor units moved into the main garage area.

David Mahood of Troy is studying for a Diesel Equipment Technology – Off-Highway Equipment Specialization certificate. He said he enjoys the hybrid format of his classes because he can better separate lab work from online lectures and quizzes.

“Nothing will stop us from graduating this fall,” Mahood said.

Kent Kahler, an instructor in TSTC’s Diesel Equipment Technology program, began as a lab assistant in 1977 and was later promoted to instructor. He said he is in his third generation of teaching students.

He said the first day of the fall semester never gets old to him.

“I still get excited about teaching,” Kahler said.

Tanner Vandeplas of Salado began his fourth semester in the Robotics Technology program on Monday. He is looking forward to taking the Robot Interfacing class this semester, which will be taught in a hybrid format. He said time management and consistent attendance are the keys to mastering hybrid classes.

Vanderplas is used to the first day of new semesters. He already has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electronics Technology from TSTC.

Parking was in ample supply at the John B. Connally Technology Center, the Student Services Center, and the Provence Graphic Communications Center. Some of TSTC’s programs have moved to an all-online format, eliminating the need for as many students, faculty and staff to be on campus.

Students saw mounds of dirt at the construction site for Griffith Hall, TSTC’s new dorm scheduled to open by August 2021. The dorm is being built between the Student Services Center and the Greta W. Watson Culinary Arts Center.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.

31 Aug. 2020 Waco first day fall semester 2 300x216 - TSTC Welcomes Back Students for Fall Semester

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