Planting S.E.E.D.S.

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TSTC President Dr. Cesar Maldonado addresses attendees at the opening of the Raymondville Rural Technical Training Center, which opened in September 2012. The satellite offers a basic skills program where students can go and get their GED among many other services.

By Eladio Jaimez

The Raymondville Satellite, housed at the Raymondville Rural Technical Training Center, opened in September 2012.  TSTC Associate Vice-President of College Readiness and Advancement, Javier De Leon, said TSTC officials along with city, school district, and county officials from Willacy County expect the center to continue offering more services in the coming years.

De Leon said Willacy County Judge John F. Lopez and County Commissioners Eliberto Guerra, Noe Loya, Fred Serrato, and Dora Perez have played crucial roles in establishing and growing the Raymondville Satellite.

“Everyone is excited and proud of the partnership we’ve started there,” De Leon said.  “The center has made a huge impact on the community there already, and that’s thanks to the work done by county, city, and school district officials in Raymondville and Willacy County.”

The satellite offers a basic skills program where students can go and get their GED.  And while this is the service that gets the most publicity, it’s not the only service being offered at the satellite center.

Students can take Accuplacer classes at the center as well.  Accuplacer classes prepare a student to test out of remedial classes and go straight into taking college courses.

The center also provides tutoring to students in Willacy County.  De Leon said approximately 350 TSTC students reside in Willacy County, and the center gives them a chance to stay near their home to get tutoring in math, reading, and writing instead of driving to Harlingen.  On Fridays, the center also offers computer literacy classes to anyone interested.

More recently, TSTC’s College Readiness and Advancement Division created the Summer Engineering Exploration Day (SEED) Program.  The SEED Program is designed to be a fun and engaging experience for students in grades three through twelve.  The SEED program utilizes a hands-on curriculum developed by TSTC faculty and staff and will be held at the TSTC Raymondville Satellite Center, which has already made strides to reach out to the adult community in Willacy County.

The program will focus on two activities: building a rocket and designing an egg-drop apparatus.  The camp will run every Friday from June 14 to July 19, and only the first 40 students will be accepted each week.  Each camp will take three hours, with the first hour dedicated to lecture, the second hour to design and structure, and the third hour to the launch or drop.

Another recent addition to the TSTC Raymondville Satellite is dual enrollment classes.  TSTC continues to work diligently with the school districts in Willacy County to provide dual enrollment classes at the districts instead of traveling to Harlingen.

“It’s very exciting,” De Leon said.  “I hope as they get older, they see what we have to offer at the TSTC Harlingen site and come take part in the wonderful things we’re doing there.”

“None of these great opportunities could be done without the support and leadership of our President, Dr. Cesar Maldonado, and Provost Mr. Adam Hutchison,” De Leon added.