Fall 2012 Commencment
ULA Presented Coveted President's Challenge Coin
Governor Perry Makes Skilled Workforce Announcement at TSTC
Students Volunteer for City Beautification
LEED Gold for University Center
Banned Book Week Promotes Freedoms
Focus On Success
Seniors Tour TSTC On TECH Day
Are You Ready to Ride Valley Metro?
ACT Program Welcomes Business Officials
Computer Grad Rises To Doctorate
Paramedic Prepared For Career In EMT Program
TSTC Graduate Enjoys Business Independence
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Summer Camp Focuses on Education Rewards
[Friday, June 22, 2012]
Seventy high school students from throughout the Rio Grande Valley are gaining education rewards that include a financial incentive to pass summer camp classes at Texas State Technical College Harlingen (TSTC).
The Migrant Academic Achievement Residential Summer Program (MAARS) includes students from Laredo, Mission, Sharyland, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Weslaco, Raymondville, Harlingen and San Benito. The courses will allow many of the students to recover credits toward a higher grade level and advance them closer to high school graduation. Each student will receive $100 every two weeks for passing scores and good behavior. The final payoff for graduates will be certificates and $900 at a closing ceremony from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 18 in the TSTC Cultural Arts Center after completing course grades of C or higher.
“The six-and-one-half week MAARS courses will substitute for two full semester high school classes that I otherwise would take this next year,” said Juan Hernandez, who will be a junior at Harlingen High School this coming fall. His MAARS courses include Algebra II, English II and Machining Technology.
This is the first year that TSTC has administered MAARS which includes $320,000 from federal funds for students’ tuition, meals, housing, supplies and books, said Adan Treviño, program director. TSTC hires advisors and certified instructors for the summer camp that’s designed to place high school students in a college environment to provide them with hands-on training and perspectives about possible careers.
“I wanted to get the college experience,” said William Cepeda, who will be a senior at San Benito High School, “and I like the social interaction of meeting people from across the Rio Grande Valley.”
He took economics, English III and Machining Technology in the first phase of MAARS that began June 3 when students arrived at TSTC. Cepeda said that he enjoyed the economics class because it dealt with the U.S. financial, money, banking and government systems that allowed him to buy stock and manage investments in a learning simulation.
Hernandez, Cepeda and their Machining Technology classmates made one-inch aluminum cubes into dice using the computer numerical control equipment in the Machining Technology laboratory. Rick Limas, chairman of Machining Technology for TSTC, said the course teaches students about blue prints, dimensions and measurements within one-thousandth of an inch. He helped students program the CNC drill to finish the production process.
“You can see how important precision is in craftsmanship. If you don’t do the preparation right, you’ll have trouble,” Limas told students as the computer controlled drill put grooves into the aluminum cubes. “Nothing gets manufactured without the use of tools and machines.”
Jessica Juarez of South Palm Garden High School in Weslaco took Machining Technology, but she said that she found a greater interest in the Egyptian painting as part of art class. “I entered MAARS to finish high school faster. I am close to graduation and I would like to study toward a career in nursing,” she said.
Robert Rodriguez of San Juan said that after high school he plans to study automotive technology in the Houston area. He took English IV and economics and government during the first segment of MAARS; plus, he got assigned to the Building Science Technology Program, where students worked to finish construction on a shed.
“I think MAARS is a good experience to get ready for college, to be around other college students and see how they act. It’s a challenge to be on your own a little bit,” he said.
Stuart Hearron, teaching lab assistant for Building Construction Science, said that students learned about safety and tools as they worked for three weeks on the floor, walls, roof and exterior of a small building. “I want them to finish this storage shed because it will have all the main components of building construction,” he said.
Gilberto Torres of Laredo said that he helped his father with small construction projects before he took on the storage shed project, but the TSTC program gave him his first extended trip away from his family. “I got to meet new people, learned more and get ahead. I like the hands-on activities in class,” he said.
The students’ daily schedule involves academic courses led by certified instructors from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., project-based learning in technology programs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and tutorial assistance and homework in the Dr. J. Gilbert Leal Learning Resource Center from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. “The library factor has boosted grades by an average of 10 percent and it allows students to relax while they have access to valuable resources,” Treviño said. “Every student passed each course for our first segment of camp, so we are off to a great start.”
Thirty-seven high school seniors in MAARS are preparing for college placement exams they will take in July. They also will work on college financial aid forms, college admission applications and scholarships. All students will tour TSTC, the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Texas-Pan American before the certificate of completion ceremony.
The MAARS camp is implemented through the Center for Science & Math Education within the TSTC College Readiness & Advancement Department. For more information, go online to
or call 956.364.4464.
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