A Standout in an Unexpected Way
Student of the Week: Antonio Trejo
“Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. If you're having trouble in a class, don't be afraid to ask your professor or ask the people sitting next to you. Because they might have the same question.”
Sometimes, the lessons learned in a class can surprise a student. That’s what Antonio Trejo, 20, experienced when he signed up for Art Appreciation 1301.
Trejo graduated from Mission Veterans Memorial High School in 2020. After starting his college career at Texas Tech University, Trejo became homesick and returned to the Rio Grande Valley. He remembered his dual enrollment experience at South Texas College and returned to complete his degree.
Art Appreciation was one of the final two classes he needed to earn an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Trejo’s art professor, Alexis Ramos, said he showed extreme dedication from his first day in class. Ramos said she was impressed by his commitment and the way he applied the art techniques he learned in the class that is traditionally the first course non-art majors take.
“It was a good class and I would take one again if I got the opportunity,” Trejo said. “And, I think they (art courses) are important. Without these classes, people aren't going to know whether or not it's something they're interested in. If they don't get that opportunity, they'll never find out.”
Ramos said Trejo also delivered a standout group project. He and his classmates were tasked with choosing a social issue and then individually creating accompanying artwork.
Trejo’s group collaborated on an artwork titled, “El Viaje,” or “The Journey.” Made of mixed media, found objects and acrylic paint, the piece depicted the social issues surrounding the reality of immigration at the southern border.
Trejo worked on creating an image depicting the desert landscape of Texas and Arizona inside a water jug with painted silhouettes of people and a border wall.
“The water bottle is important because there's an organization that leaves them out along the routes that these immigrants take so they have some source of water,” Trejo said. “We came up with the project just through all the research we did.”
Without the class and group project, Trejo doesn’t think he would have found an opportunity to express his thoughts through art.
“I've always liked drawing, but it's nothing I've really expressed, because I've never felt like I'm good at it,” Trejo said. “So, once I got the opportunity, and then, with the support of my family, I was able to create the art piece. And, I guess it came out good because (Ramos) liked it.”
Trejo said he plans to become an elementary or middle school math teacher someday. He intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley this fall.
“I come from a family of educators,” Trejo said. “My dad's a teacher, my sister just became a teacher about two years ago. So are my aunts and uncles. I've just grown up with teaching and have learned to love it.”
His connection to the education inspired how he views the STC campus.
“I like the community; from the staff to the students. It’s very welcoming,” Trejo said. “And, then, of course, it’s here in my hometown. It's right down the street for me, so I'm able to work and keep studying and furthering my education at the same time.”
Trejo said the lessons he learned during his time at STC, notably his art class, are ones he wishes to pass along to future students.
“Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone,” Trejo said. “If you're having trouble in a class, don't be afraid to ask your professor or ask the people sitting next to you. Because they might have the same question. And it’s always good to make friends. I'm a little shy, so it's kind of hard, but I made close friends through the classes I have attended here. Friendships I plan on keeping. At the end of the day, it's all to better yourself and your education and help you reach your final goal in life.”