Texas Border Business
More than 2,400 South Texas College students walked across the stage at Bert Ogden Arena Saturday, many of them overcoming great obstacles to celebrate today’s success.
Among them was Mayra Perez, who said she knew the hours of studying and sacrifices she made for her future have paid off.
“I started school at STC as a second career choice,” Perez, who received her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, said. “I was an insurance agent before, but decided sales wasn’t for me. I could always see myself as a nurse, but it never happened until I slowly but surely started taking classes at STC. I would tell future students to make sure to manage their time, and don’t wait. It’s never too late.”
Three ceremonies were held for the STC divisions, which include Business, Public Safety and Technology; Nursing and Allied Health; Liberal Arts; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Math, Science, Information Technology and the Bachelor Programs.
Graduates earning a degree in Business, Public Safety and Technology and the Nursing and Allied Health division walked the stage at the 12:30 p.m. ceremony, including Sergio Martinez, who was part of the Fire Science program.
Martinez said he currently works for the city of McAllen Fire Department, but was seeking a way to strengthen his knowledge in the field he loves to turned to STC.
“I want to be able to provide better service for the citizens and improve my skills,” Martinez said. “More than anything, I took away a lot of knowledge when it comes to fire behavior and the composition of fire. I would tell anyone looking into this program to go for it. STC is the place to go.”
Among the graduates were nearly 200 dual credit students from Hidalgo and Starr Counties and more than 300 bachelor’s degree candidates, nearing STC’s number of bachelor’s degree graduates to 4,000.
Nicole Resendez, 22, from Edinburg graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She initially received her associate degree in nursing from STC last year.
“I’ve been granted so many opportunities here at STC, I’ve lost count,” Resendez said. “Even as a student in high school I was taking college courses at STC. So for six years, it’s been nonstop.”
STC President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D., acknowledged the past challenges brought on by the pandemic, and urged the graduates to take their moment to “inspire someone they know who would love to attend college.”
“Today we find ourselves in a new world transition,” Solis said. “We have survived a pandemic that has not only shaken up your world, but transformed it to what can be seen as an opportunity before us. Every struggle and success that you endure will eventually give you the confidence to dream and believe that you are capable of more. You serve as a testament that singular success often comes from a great collective sacrifice.”
Amberly Sanchez serves as a testament to perseverance as she followed her dream to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. She graduated with her vocational nursing (VN) degree from STC in 2019. But, life after was “a rollercoaster.”
“I had a baby and then my sister passed away during Covid in 2020,” Sanchez said. “She was at my 2019 graduation, so I had to have her with me today – I dedicated my cap to her.”
Sanchez said she is ready to continue contributing to the health care field and climbing up the nursing ladder.
“Nurses would make a difference in my life when I would get sick so if I could do that for one patient a day or at a time, that’s exactly what I want,” she said.
The message was clear – the future is looking bright for graduates of South Texas College.
“So many of you have served as examples that it’s never too late,” Solis said. “You are role models for lifelong learning. STC is the place and the time. It’s now the time to chase these dreams deferred by the pandemic. We want to challenge everyone in the audience here today to look inward and to look to the many opportunities that South Texas College has to offer graduates.”
STC offers more than 120 degree and certificate program options in a variety of liberal art, social science, business, math, science, technology, advanced manufacturing and nursing and allied health fields of study. With more than 150 agreements with colleges and universities across the nation, transfer opportunities for students who wish to continue their education beyond STC’s offerings are also available.
For more information on the programs offered at South Texas College, including registration for spring 2023, visit southtexascollege.edu.