National champion chooses STC
Student of the Week: Alexandra Herebia
I felt that STC would be a better fit for me because the classes are smaller and if I need help, I feel like people around here will help me. I think it would be harder for me to reach out to someone if I attended a big college or university where they have more students.
A national championship title was the confirmation Alexandra Herebia, 18, needed to encourage her to pursue her higher education at South Texas College.
The Donna native will study Business Administration at STC’s Mid-Valley campus with the dream of pursuing a career as a nail technician.
“I want to open my own business someday, and I saw that the business administration classes cover topics like managing money,” Herebia said. “That's what I want to learn.”
Herebia graduated from Donna High School in 2023, where she claimed the national championship title for nail care at the SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference competition in Atlanta, Georgia this summer.
“I sometimes don't believe it,” Herebia said. “It’s only when people come up to me, and say ‘You went to nationals? You're number one in the U.S.?’ that it hits me. But, I’m always really happy when people congratulate me.”
Herebia said she had to complete a manicure, a pedicure, give a presentation on nail care and complete a written exam as part of the contest.
“I believed that this year was going to be my year to take first place,” Herebia said. “I practiced every day for this. Practice is very important, even if you think your work is going great or that you’re doing this good, there's still room for improvement.”
Herebia said she started her nail career during her junior year of high school.
“We did a nail art competition in-house for Halloween nail art,” she said. “That’s what got me into the drawing and nail art aspect. I ended up winning in my in-house competition, so it gave me the confidence to enter to the competition for Skills USA.”
Herebia said her art classes during her freshman year of high school, is where she learned about blending colors and aspects of drawing. She was able to use and apply those skills to her nail art, which she says brings out her creativity and confidence.
Herebia said after she graduated from high school she wanted to stay close to home and felt she could connect to the STC Mid-Valley campus.
“I felt that STC would be a better fit for me because the classes are smaller and if I need help, I feel like people around here will help me,” Herebia said. “I think it would be harder for me to reach out to someone if I attended a big college or university where they have more students.”
Herebia added that as a first-generation college student, higher education was important to her, and she felt encouraged by her family to attend school and pursue a career in nail care.
“Since my dad saw me accomplish something very big with this award, he told me I’m capable of doing so much and he doesn’t want me to lose that passion.” Herebia said. “I was thinking about not going to college because I have my license so I can work already, but since I'm young right now and I can grasp things easier, I feel like it's better for me to go to college with my current mindset. I felt like it's important to take this next step.”
Herebia is carrying her nail technician experience with her and has a goal in sight after she earns her degree.
“One aspect I really enjoy about nails is that when you’re doing them you are always talking and spending time with people,” she said. “It motivates me to focus on getting all my college courses done, grow my clientele and have more business.