Young Achievers: STC students hit another milestone in their remarkable EMT career journey
Following a pathway to success started in high school for South Texas College graduates Victor Cerda, Azanett Cantu, Sophia Jara and Benjamin Saucedo, now are taking another step together in their first responder journey by earning an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Advanced certificate.
Following a pathway to success started in high school for South Texas College graduates Victor Cerda, Benjamin Saucedo, Sophia Jara and Azanett Cantu, now are taking another step together in their first responder journey by earning an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Advanced certificate.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life until the EMT program was offered to me in high school; it changed everything,” said Cerda. “Once I started to immerse myself in the program, I just wanted to keep learning about it, and today I get to add another accomplishment and set of skills under my belt.”
Obtaining a Basic EMT certificate through dual credit classes at Edinburg High School last semester, allowed these 18-year-old men and women to get ahead in the profession and begin their careers while they continued their education through STC’s Emergency Medical Services program.
“Getting our first certificate while in high school helped so much. It took away the financial stress so we could figure out and decide if this is really what we like,” said Saucedo. “Afterwards, STC’s flexible schedule helped us work part-time and get experience on our very first semester in college. It’s just a great opportunity to take advantage of.”
All four graduates are already gearing up to continue the program and obtain their associate degree in Emergency Medical Services in 2024 to become registered and licensed paramedics, and then invest another year to become a Registered Nurse through the college’s Paramedic to RN track in 2025, achieving two different specializations in less than four years and making them more marketable.
Saucedo mentioned that his drive to keep earning credentials and expanding his skills comes from a genuine desire to assist others during their times of need.
"To be a first responder, you need to have a compassionate heart and understand that every call means someone is going through a tough time," he expressed. "It's a rewarding feeling to know you're there to help, and you've been trained to do just that."
To be a first responder, you need to have a compassionate heart and understand that every call means someone is going through a tough time. It's a rewarding feeling to know you're there to help, and you've been trained to do just that.
Cerda, who shortly after joining the program found out his grandfather was also a paramedic, was indecisive between nursing and firefighting, and is now grateful to the opportunity to do both after becoming a paramedic.
“My goal at first was to become a nurse, but knowing that I can do all this and be in the action is an amazing opportunity,” he said. “We have met many certified EMTs who congratulate us on doing this career through school because we get college credits that open the doors to other opportunities. We’re really grateful.”
On the other hand, Jara and Cantu see the EMT career as a great start in the medical field, paving the way for their dream of becoming labor and delivery nurses.
"I had the opportunity to witness my sister giving birth and that inspired me to become a nurse," said Jara. "But I found this pathway as a really beneficial step to go into the nursing program. You gain double the experience and double the credits.”
Cerda, Saucedo and Jara secured positions with Life Star EMS ambulance transfer company earlier this year, immediately after graduating high school, while Cantu found similar success with Fire EMS.
"Even if we choose not to pursue nursing in the future, STC has provided us with so many benefits and college credits through our two certificates, very valuable for us to succeed in this career,” said Cantu.
All four graduates will be walking the stage at STC’s Nursing and Allied Health Commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. on Dec. 9 at the Bert Ogden Arena.
“I could be working at a convenience store or retail, but STC gave me the opportunity to get ahead,” added Saucedo. “The best part about STC is all the different options. I was fortunate enough to love it from the start, but you get the chance to try different things and STC has so many choices that you will find something that will be right for you.”