Harlingen grad serves while studying construction science

HARLINGEN — She’s off to the University of Texas San Antonio to … Wait, turn around, backup.

First the Army, then college, said Jacqueline Medina, 19, who received a $2,500 scholarship from the Keep Craft Alive Fund.

“I was surprised when I received it,” said Jacqueline, who spent three years studying masonry under the tutelage of Victor Santillan at Harlingen High School.

She was awarded the scholarship at the SkillsUSA National Competition at the SkillsUSA National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It’s a big scholarship and there are so many people that can get it,” Jacqueline said. “Only two people from the masonry got it. It was really exciting to find out.”

The other student to receive the award was a young lady from California.

Santillan was proud of his student’s accomplishments.

“She’s a real good mason,” he said. “She can build anything. That girl is a very determined young lady.”

Indeed she does have some very well thought-out plans. She’s leaving for Army basic training at the end of June, train as a combat engineer, then begin her studies in construction science at UTSA.

“I’m doing the Army Reserves,” she said. “In the Army Reserves I’ll be able to both balance school and the Army. I’ll only be having to show up to the Army unit once a month.”

She plans to use her four-year degree from UTSA to work in management, she said.

“It’s a physical field, more hands-on,” she said. “You’re never sitting back.”

She enjoyed her time with the HHS Masonry Club, for which she served as president.

“I enjoyed most that all the students started where I was,” she said. “We really didn’t know much and then over the years they just progressed so much. We’re just doing some good work.”