By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff
To graduate with honors is a challenge in itself, but to graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average is even more difficult, and this semester six Texas State Technical College students received this honor.
TSTC graduates, who achieve a 4.0 GPA throughout their time at the college, earn the Board of Regents Honor Graduate title and are presented with a medallion to commemorate their outstanding achievement during a banquet and recognition ceremony.
“This evening is the time to recognize and celebrate this huge achievement,” said TSTC Provost Cledia Hernandez. “We celebrate the hard work and dedication these students have put in throughout their careers at TSTC to achieve this honor.”
The Board of Regent Honors Graduates for Summer 2019 are: Fabian Ledesma, surgical technology; Bryssa Alina Conde, dental assistant; Mitchell Woods, biology; Silvia Lopez, vocational to registered nursing transition; Joyce Gonzalez, vocational to registered nursing transition and Liliana Bazaldua, dental assistant.
The students were joined by their families along with TSTC faculty and leadership, including Provost Hernandez and Associate Provosts Jean Lashbrook and David Campos, and Board of Regents member Alejandro “Alex” Meade II, who also serves as Pharr’s city manager.
“Our job is to recruit companies into the Rio Grande Valley, and believe it or not, you all play a big part in that. And to have achieved a 4.0 GPA makes us all proud,” Meade told the honorees. “From what I hear all of you are working toward careers in the healthcare industry, which is the largest and fastest growing industry in the state. So for me to see that you are specializing in this gives me a lot of hope and I can assure you that you will find jobs.”
For Woods, who earned an associate degree in Biology, this was not an honor he expected to receive when he returned to college after more than 25 years of being out of school.
“Having been out of school for so long and returning was a definite challenge,” said the U.S. Navy retiree and veteran. “I was ready for a formal education and TSTC gave me the confidence to jump back in and I’m thankful that the college has taken the time to recognize this achievement.”
While serving in the Navy, Woods worked as a medic, which guided his decision in pursuing a career in healthcare.
“I can’t imagine doing anything else. This is my passion,” said Woods.
Woods said he received a great amount of help from Academic Science Associate Professor Paul Leonard and the TSTC Veteran Center where he was able to use the computer lab and printers for assignments and projects and where they helped him with the military benefits process and document.
He added that because he received so much assistance he was able to get his degree, and now he expects to continue his education to become a registered nurse.
The honor graduates received further recognition at Friday’s 2019 Commencement Ceremonies at the Harlingen Convention Center.
More than 1,000 TSTC students graduated with a certificate or associate degree statewide and joined an alumni network 100,000 strong.
For more information on the programs offered at TSTC, visit tstc.edu. The registration deadline for Fall 2019 is August 23. The first day of classes is August 26.