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South Texas College awards over 2,700 degrees & certificates at Fall Commencement

College posthumously awards degree to student who lost life to brain cancer

The families of over 2,700 South Texas College graduates celebrated their accomplishments at two Fall Commencement Ceremonies Saturday at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo. Among them was the family of Bianca Sarmiento who was posthumously awarded an Associate degree after losing her battle with brain cancer a year ago.

Bianca succumbed to Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer at age 24.

“Today is the day that Bianca would have been receiving her degree, and this is definitely something she would have wanted,” said Patricia Rodriguez, Bianca’s aunt, who along with various family members attended STC’s commencement ceremony on Bianca’s behalf. “It’s an honor to be here, and this makes us all very happy. Regardless of her diagnosis she still managed to go to school and overcome many obstacles in life.”

STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed bestowed Bianca’s Associate of Applied Science in Deaf Studies Support Specialist to the family during STC’s afternoon commencement. South Texas College conferred more than 2,700 degrees and certificates during its December 2017 commencement ceremonies.

“This is the day we honor our graduates. This is our day to honor you. We are here to celebrate your graduation from STC. All of us from South Texas College all join me in extending this welcome,” Dr. Reed told graduates.

“Graduating from a college or university is an honor few receive. Many of you are the first in your family to receive a college degree. You had the dream of making this day happen, and all of us were here to support you on the long way to graduation,” Dr. Reed said. “We want to let you know how proud we are of each and every one of you. We are here to honor you, the graduating class of 2017.

Faces in the crowd

Jocelyn Martinez graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in Construction Supervision. Despite being a male-centered career choice, Martinez says she immersed herself in the field and eventually became the president of STC’s Construction Supervision Club.

Upon graduating, Martinez says she plans to move to Dallas to support her husband’s framing business.

“I have been blessed to have a great support system from my professors who always believed in me,” Martinez said. “The fact that I’m in a male-dominated career is possible regardless of my gender. Whatever the goals, they are there to be achieved if I try hard enough. I’m glad I took this step, and I’m glad I was supported and encouraged to finish.”

Magda Gonzalez graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Technology Management. While attending STC, Gonzalez said she initially received a certificate and Associate degree along with her Bachelor’s. Gonzalez said she would like to enter the field of Special Education.

“It has been a great experience. We are like family here,” Gonzalez said of her experience at STC. “We look out for each other and my professors have been very helpful. To future graduates, I would like to tell them to never take their education for granted. Do what you have to do to get it over with and move on.”

Janet Nolasco graduated during the afternoon ceremony with an Associate degree in Biology with the hopes of attending medical school after graduation. She stood out from the crowd wearing a graduation cap that read “What she tackles, she conquers.”

“I would like to tell students that nothing is impossible as long as you try and never give up,” Janet said. “Despite what I went through, I survived and I finished.”

STC offers more than 120 degree and certificate program options in a variety of liberal art, social science, business, math, science, technology, advanced manufacturing and nursing and allied health fields of study. With more than 150 agreements with colleges and universities across the nation, transfer opportunities for students who wish to continue their education beyond STC’s offerings are also available.

For more information regarding South Texas College, including registration for spring 2018, visit southtexascollege.edu or call 956.872.8311.

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