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An Unbreakable Bond: Mother, Daughter Empower Each Other

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Mother, daughter duo Brenda Cantu and Mia Treviño, respectively, cherish their tight bond from late nights of homework to enjoying episodes of Gilmore Girls, and although they have their ups and downs, one thing remains steadfast, and that is their love for each other and appreciation for South Texas College. STC Image
Mother, daughter duo Brenda Cantu and Mia Treviño, respectively, cherish their tight bond from late nights of homework to enjoying episodes of Gilmore Girls, and although they have their ups and downs, one thing remains steadfast, and that is their love for each other and appreciation for South Texas College. STC Image
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By Amanda Sotelo

Mother, daughter duo Brenda Cantu and Mia Treviño, respectively, cherish their tight bond from late nights of homework to enjoying episodes of Gilmore Girls, and although they have their ups and downs, one thing remains steadfast, and that is their love for each other and appreciation for South Texas College.

It was 2007, when Cantu, meteorologist at Telemundo 40, graduated from STC with an associate degree in Criminal Justice. It was also the same year Treviño was born.

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“STC has been in our family for many years,” said Cantu. “My journey at STC began 17 years ago and it changed my life forever. To think about the impact it has had on my family, it’s incredible. STC has always felt like home.”  

Cantu, who was born in a small town in Mexico, but raised in La Joya, said she’s always had big dreams. She added she recalls seeing her parents work hard as migrant workers in the fields, and she promised herself that would not be her life.  

“I knew I couldn’t do that kind of work my whole life. I needed something else. I wanted to break the cycle,” Cantu said.

And so, she has…

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Cantu became the first in her family to become a college graduate. From STC and the former University of Texas Pan American to Mississippi State University, she has had several successful careers in teaching, retail, cosmetology, television and now meteorology.

Much of her success she credits to God and to STC.   

“I’m blessed to say that STC is where it all started,” she said. “It opened doors I never thought possible, my advisors were always on hand to help and overall, it made my transition to four-year universities much less intimidating. All it took from me was hard work and determination…God and STC, helped with the rest.”

Now, she finds herself back at STC, this time with her 17-year-old daughter, who will be graduating with an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies next year as a dual credit student.  

Treviño, a junior at La Joya Early College High School, said it has been through her mom’s success that she has found inspiration.

“My mom struggled and changed the landscape of our family’s future when she enrolled at STC,” she said. “It is because of her that now I’m able to dream big and have a great role model in hard work, perseverance and success.”

Treviño has a passion for math and science, sparking her interest in medical school, therefore, upon graduating from STC in 2025, she will transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology and apply to medical school to become a pediatric surgeon.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but my mom has shown me that challenges can be overcome,” said Treviño. “I was small when I first knew I wanted to be a doctor and I’m on my way, ahead of schedule actually, because of my dual credit program.”

It was an unexpected adrenal gland tumor and rare diagnosis of Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome (OMS), an autoimmune disorder, in Treviño’s younger brother that sparked her interest in medicine.

“Doctors, nurses, therapists and so many more treated my brother and my family so well, and so special, as we traveled for treatments and medical care,” she said. “I remember their kindness and expertise, and how positively it impacted our family; they were my inspiration.”

Cantu said to imagine who her daughter could be is a precious gift.

“I’m so proud of her and to watch her at my alma mater and someday graduate from STC, is an honor,” said Cantu. “Her being able to have this opportunity at such a young age and to get a head start in her college education is priceless. I’m so grateful to STC for giving students, like my daughter, this kind of advantage.”

However, Treviño said she is the one that should be proud.

“I’m so proud of my mom and what she has done for herself and her family. It wasn’t always easy, I know that, but she did it. What an example,” she said. “She made it possible and a lot easier for me and my siblings to imagine we could be college graduates. She set the bar high.”

Cantu’s husband is also an STC graduate from the college’s nursing program and her son Claudio, will also begin his dual credit journey at STC next year.

As for Cantu and Treviño, they both have big plans. Cantu hopes to earn a National Weather Association (NWA) Seal of Approval soon, and Treviño plans on working toward a top 10 ranking in her class, she is currently No. 11, in addition to her schoolwork, she also wants to continue her community service work and making a difference.

Both hope that their stories can inspire others to pursue dual credit or college, in general.

“My entire journey and seeing my children pursue their dreams has been a humbling experience, and I encourage others, no matter how afraid they are, to take a leap of faith,” said Cantu. “Education can never be taken away from you. STC is the place to start.”

Treviño added, “Everything that is offered to us is to help us become better and I hope other students take advantage of that. I want to thank STC for the opportunity and my mom, for being my best friend and always believing in me.”

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