More than 135 graduates received certificates and associate degrees at Texas State Technical College’s Summer 2019 Commencement held Friday, Aug. 16, at the Abilene Convention Center. Graduates from TSTC’s West Texas campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater were recognized.
For TSTC Provost Rick Denbow, commencement is the best day of each semester.
“It is a great time to see the accumulation of all the students’ hard work pay off. Most of these students are graduating with jobs already lined up, which is even more exciting,” Denbow said.
Several students could be found celebrating their newfound jobs with their fellow classmates and instructors.
Faye Miller received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling and will start working soon.
“I start work at the Walker Sayle Unit on Monday, and I am so excited,” Miller said. “This is a start to a new chapter for me, and I am so glad to make my family proud.”
During his commencement ceremony address, Texas Senator Charles Perry offered pearls of wisdom as the students embark on their professional careers.
“The great equalizer in life is that we are all given the same 24 hours in a day. It’s what you choose to do with them that will define you and your life,” Perry said.
Graduate Alan Acosta knows the value of time and is graduating with his Certificate Level 1 in Structural Welding at just 19 years old. Acosta was a dual enrollment welding student when he attended Brownwood High School, which allowed him to earn his first semester of college while still in high school.
“I think it's important to start early, and find a job you like and work hard at it,” Acosta said.
This commencement saw the first cohort of graduates from the programs offered at the new Industrial Technology Center in Abilene. Caleb Ames received his Certificate Level 1 in Industrial Systems and is the first student to graduate from the Abilene program.
“I am excited and nervous, but mostly excited. I love that I get to work with my hands every day, and I love that I was in this program because there are numerous career opportunities within the industrial systems,” Ames said.
Ames will start work as a frac mechanic for Propetrol in a week.
For others, this commencement was bittersweet. Students in the Electromechanical Technology program mourned the loss of their instructor Mary Madden, but said they would honor her memory by being the best employees they could be, as she would expect of them.
“I wouldn't be walking this stage without the guidance of Mrs. Madden,” Chris Hill, a graduate of the Electromechanical Technology program, said. “She would demand a lot from you, but that's because she would give it right back. She made sure we knew she was there to help us succeed, and I plan to honor her by being the best worker out there.”
Hill earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Electromechanical Technology and will work for a private contractor in San Antonio.
Earlier in the day, the Associate Degree in Nursing program held a pinning ceremony.
For more information, log on to tstc.edu.