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South Texas College welcomes new trustees

Victoria Cantu and Rene Guajardo take oath of office; outline priorities for first terms


South Texas College’s newest trustees say they have students’ best interests at heart, and through their work on the Board will strive to put policies in place that will make them as competitive as possible in the working world.

At a packed house attended by current trustees, community leaders, and supporters, Victoria Cantu and Rene Guajardo were both sworn into the STC Board of Trustees on May 29.

Attendees at the event included state Rep. Sergio Munoz Jr., D-Palmview; Hidalgo County Pct. 1 Commissioner David Fuentes; Pct. 2 Commissioner Eddie Cantu; La Joya Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas; former McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez; La Joya ISD Superintendent Alda T. Benavidez; and Starr County Sheriff Rene Fuentes.

STC trustees serve for six year terms. Current trustee Rose Benavidez, who was recently elected to her third term, along with Cantu and Guajardo will serve until May 2024.

“I think one of the most exciting things is that STC is already doing a lot of wonderful things, a lot of great things. I just hope to come in and bring the 26 years of experience I have in education,” Guajardo said.

Guajardo is currently Human Resources Director at Mercedes Independent School District. He represents District 6, which includes Donna, south Alamo, south San Juan, southeast Pharr, south Weslaco and Progreso. He takes over from Jesse Villarreal, who served as an STC trustee for 18 years

“I think that one of the biggest things taking place in education has been a paradigm shift, and we have to stay up to date on these changes,” Guajardo said. “I know that at the Port of Brownsville we have things like liquefied natural gas (LNG) coming in, and we have SpaceX. How can our students get the education to get these particular jobs?  As a trustee, I am looking out for the students who are looking to build their career. It’s our job and responsibility to bring up different programs that will make them competitive in those particular types of jobs.”

Victoria Cantu is currently the CEO of Children’s Education Station, a childcare program based in Peñitas assisting with the development of children ranging in ages from infant to elementary level. Cantu will represent District 2, which includes La Joya, western Mission, Palmview, Sullivan City, Peñitas and western Alton. She takes over from Graciela Farias, who served on the STC board for six years from 2012 to 2018.

“My priorities include fostering partnerships with high school students to make college acceptable and affordable for all students,” Cantu said. “I will work to reduce barriers that prevent students from graduating on time, and working with industry leaders to establish career pathways for highly skilled employment opportunities for our students.

“I want to bring in a new approach to the board,” she said. “I am excited and energetic and I am ready to get started but overall I want to look into the best interests of our students.”

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