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Balancing Community Commitment with STC Dual Education

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Miss Texas Onion Fest 2023 Vivian Tamez, a sophomore at Weslaco High School, is studying Mathematics at South Texas College through the Dual Credit program. Courtesy Image
Miss Texas Onion Fest 2023 Vivian Tamez, a sophomore at Weslaco High School, is studying Mathematics at South Texas College through the Dual Credit program. Courtesy Image

Texas Border Business

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WESLACO, Texas – It’s been a non-stop month for Miss Texas Onion Fest 2023 Vivian Tamez. Since being crowned, Tamez has been committed to attending community events, meeting sponsors and promoting Weslaco’s largest annual festival.

Through it all, she is also balancing her journey as a South Texas College Dual Credit student.

Tamez, a sophomore at Weslaco High School, is pursuing an associate degree in Mathematics from STC. She said she was inspired to join the dual credit program after seeing her older sister’s success.

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“My sister was part of the Weslaco Early College and I saw how she had 64 college credits transfer to her university,” Tamez said. “She started off as a junior at the University of Texas at Austin and I thought that was a perfect example to follow.”

Tamez is currently taking U.S. History through STC and is also enrolled in Pre-Advanced Placement classes to prepare for her next semester of college. 

“Dual enrollment has been a great experience for me so far, and I enjoy it a lot,” Tamez said. “It’s hard work, but I’m focused on knowing that I’ll have a head start in college.”

Tamez plans to use her STC mathematics education as a foundation for a future bachelor’s degree in business management.

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“I’ve always wanted to be independent, so I want to own my own company,” Tamez said. “My dream is to have my own car dealership full of Corvettes, because Corvettes are my favorite car.”

As Miss Onion Fest, Tamez has been given a unique chance to meet with community members who have accomplished their own dreams. Tamez said she was excited to visit Texas Onion Fest sponsor Payne Weslaco Chevrolet, and took the opportunity to learn more about the automotive industry, and, of course, pose in her favorite car.

“We were doing the sponsor photos at Payne Chevrolet and I was excited to be able to sit in the Corvette and meet the manager,” Tamez said. “I was especially inspired by her; she gave me advice and told me how she was able to get into the business.”

Tamez said she has been connecting and learning more about her hometown and one of its biggest developments, the 1015 Onion.

The annual Texas Onion Festival celebrates the development of the world-famous Sweet Texas 1015 Onion, which was developed in Weslaco at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

This year’s Texas Onion Fest was held on Saturday, March 25 in Historic Downtown Weslaco. The event had record-breaking attendance, and Tamez said she was proud to be the festival’s representative.  

“I read to children at the library with the rest of the Weslaco Royal Court and also participated in the Lionel’s Western Wear fashion show,” Tamez said. “There were so many events going on, but I enjoyed seeing everybody.” 

Tamez said she was honored to be seen as a role model by the children in attendance who approached her for a photo. And, she surprised herself by outpacing other contestants in the onion eating contest. 

“It wasn’t the easiest contest, but I’m proud I won,” Tamez said with a laugh. “I really wanted to win that one.”

Tamez’s reign and community service will continue through the year. She recently visited Weslaco elementary schools for National Read Across America Week and also undertook a food drive and Easter basket initiative at San Martin de Porres Catholic Church.

“Easter is around the corner and I know that there are families who are struggling,” Tamez said. “I thought it would be a great way to help them so they’re able to celebrate Easter with us and have Easter baskets for their children.”

Tamez is proud to call Weslaco her home, and acknowledges that residents are also fortunate to have a community college located in the heart of their city.

“I think higher education opens doors for more opportunities and gives you a chance to meet new people,” Tamez said. “STC is a great option for students who aren’t ready to leave home. They’re still getting the education that they need in an environment that’s close to home.”

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