Student receives national scholarship

La Feria native Carlos Ortega was awarded the Clifford H. “Ted” Rees Jr. Scholarship at the SkillsUSA National Championship in Kentucky.

The competition, held recently, brought together students who have won local and statewide SkillsUSA competitions. Ortega, 48, finished as a finalist on the national stage.

“I was surprised, really,” said Ortega of the award. “It was definitely something special.”

The Rees Scholarship recognizes students who have successfully completed the SkillsUSA competition in their category. Ortega was awarded for his efforts in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration. The primary goal of the scholarship is to help students continue crafting their skills to become technicians in the HVAC, refrigeration and water heating industry.

Founded in 2003, the Rees Scholarship Foundation has awarded nearly $440,000 in scholarships to more than 200 hard-working students and instructors.

“We are proud to help these qualified and dedicated students,” said CEO Stephen Yurek. “We wish them success in their programs and look forward to welcoming them into the industry.”

Ortega, who graduated in April of this year, is eager to begin working in the field he has come to know and love.

“I went back to school because I wanted a change and had a really strong desire to learn new skills,” he said of his decision to hit the books again.

“Carlos is a hard worker,” said Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Department Chair Jorge Cabrera.

“He’s very confident and always willing to learn,” said Cabrera. “He always goes the extra mile to soak as much information on any subject, and strives to become better and is always open minded.”

Ortega is grateful for his time spent at TSTC and is eager to begin a new career.

“The best advice that I can give to anybody wanting to study HVAC is to focus on their main goal and absorb as much as possible from the instructors,” said Ortega.

“I’m absolutely looking forward to utilizing all that I have learned in the past two years. Being in SkillsUSA and studying at TSTC was one of the best experiences of my life.”

To learn more about TSTC’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology program, visit HVAC is offered at the Fort Bend County, Harlingen, North Texas, Waco and Williamson County campuses.

Registration for Fall 2016 is now in progress. Register or apply online at