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Valley Scholars Program of South Texas College celebrates 20 years of student success


Annual gala honors supporters of education for their commitment to Valley students

STC held their Annual “A Night with the Stars” scholarship fundraiser on Oct. 12. The theme, Celebrating 20 years of Academic Excellence, was created to commemorate the pioneers of the program who have exemplified a tireless commitment to Valley Scholars students.

“We are truly excited to celebrate 20 years of Valley Scholars,” said Dr. Anahid Petrosian, Chief Academic Officer for South Texas College. “Twenty years ago, STC was a young institution and we started to imagine what we could do for top-performing students who don’t want to move away, but want to stay in the Rio Grande Valley and pursue their dreams of a higher education.”

Since its inception in 1997, the Valley Scholars Program has continued its mission to provide educational opportunities, leadership development, and scholarships to academically gifted and highly motivated students. Dr. Ramiro Casso, Dr. Mike Metke, Dr. Juan Mejia, and Mr. Mario Reyna were recognized as pioneers of the program. Their vision and commitment to students throughout Hidalgo and Starr counties has made a lasting impact on our community. Over the past 20 years, the Valley Scholars Program has provided scholarships and leadership development to 830 Rio Grande Valley students.

“While attending South Texas College, we support our Valley Scholars with scholarships and leadership opportunities,” Dr. Petrosian said. “The program is really an entire package, and we try to embed in them the leadership qualities they can take with them after they leave us.”

Key to the success of the Valley Scholars Program is partnerships with community sponsors who have been consistently dedicated over the years to the advancement of education among our youth. Their support is recognized annually at this event.

“We take great pride in supporting these students,” said Rene Capistran, President of Noble Texas Builders. “Our focus is to increase human capital. As our opportunities continue to increase in the Rio Grande Valley, with the type of industry coming to the area, it’s imperative that we get our students ready to be the future leaders of those companies. STC is doing a great job preparing their students for tomorrow.”

STC student and member of the 21st class of Valley Scholars, Karen Chavana says she will always consider her peers as a second family who all share a common purpose.

“If I could describe Valley Scholars, I would call us a close knit group who all share the distinction of being high-performing, dedicated students,” said Chavana, who is currently student president of the program.

“We want to succeed in our lives, and we are very motivated. We are close friends and in many cases first generation college students. It is a great experience to bond with other people like that,” said Chavana. “Valley Scholars has enabled me to volunteer and continually be active in the community. The program increases our sense of social responsibility and trains us to keep sight of our goals.”

Information regarding educational requirements, program benefits and opportunities to donate to the Valley Scholars Program can be found online at:




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