By AMANDA SOTELO
Special to the Star
HARLINGEN — Fabian Ledesma came to the United States to find safety, security and the American Dream, and tonight he will put on his cap and gown and will receive an associate degree from Texas State Technical College, a symbol that he has achieved what he set out to do.
“This is a big thing for me and my family,” Ledesma said. “I can’t believe the day is finally here. It’s been so much work and investment. I’m excited and I can’t wait.”
The 35-year-old is earning an Associate of Applied Science from TSTC’s Surgical Technology program and is graduating as a Board of Regents honor graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
He moved to the Rio Grande Valley from Matamoros in 2009 to escape the increasing violence in his home country.
As a medical doctor in Mexico, who previously assisted with surgeries, he knew this program was going to be the perfect fit. He wanted something in line with what he had already dedicated his life to doing.
“One of the doctors I assisted in Mexico recommended TSTC’s Surgical Technology program to me,” he said. “He told me that he knew I would get the training I needed to be successful.”
As a student enrolled in one of the more challenging programs at TSTC, Ledesma said he also struggled as a first-time student in the United States.
“English was a struggle,” Ledesma said. “I felt like it took me longer to understand things and complete assignments, but I knew constant hard work and not giving up would pay off.”
Ledesma was right, it did pay off.
Before even graduating, he received and accepted a job offer at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg where he will work as a surgical technologist upon passing his national board exam.
At the moment, he is working at DHR as a surgical technologist intern.
“It was all of my instructors and the training I received at TSTC that helped me get this far,” Ledesma said. “Our instructors never gave up on me, or on us as a class. They pushed us to be the best we could be no matter what.”
Ledesma said that his wife and son were also a big part of his success.
“My wife is my biggest supporter. She keeps me going,” he said. “My family is my reason for everything I do. They help me be better.”
He added that he hopes he is teaching his son the valuable lesson of hard work, determination and goal setting.
“I want to be a good example for my son,” he said. “I want him to see the efforts it takes to advance in life. I want him to love learning, to believe he can do anything and to believe in himself.”
Ledesma said his future is bright now thanks to TSTC and he hopes he can do great work at DHR and aim for additional certifications that will help him advance in his career. He even said medical board exams could be in his future.
“TSTC has changed my life and my family’s,” he said. “I’ve gained a second family in my classmates and instructors and it’s great seeing everyone succeeding, finding jobs and beginning their careers.”
Ledesma will join more than 300 other students earning certificates or associate degrees during TSTC’s Commencement Ceremonies tonight at the Harlingen Convention Center.
There are more than 1,000 students statewide joining an alumni network of 100,000 strong.
For more information on TSTC and its programs, visit tstc.edu.
The deadline to register for Fall 2019 is Aug. 23. The first day of classes is Aug. 26.