The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students visualize strutting across stage

By Kenney Kost/managing editor

Pending final grades, approximately 6,000 students will receive a degree or certificate stamped with TCC’s new official seal at this year’s graduation ceremony at 6:30 p.m. May 10 at the Tarrant County Convention Center.

This year’s guest speaker is Claudia Garcia Aceves, academic advisor for the college’s access and outreach department, and she has a simple message for graduates and future graduates of TCC: “Si se puede! [Yes, you can do it]”

Garcia Aceves said she had no intention of going to college during her senior year in high school until her senior mentor led her to TCC.

“The day I visited TCC changed my life,” she said. “They offered what financial help they could, and I paid for the rest by cleaning houses and selling tamales.”

After graduating TCC with an associate degree, she went to Texas Woman’s University. During her first semester there, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had to leave school.

Academic advisor Claudia Garcia Aceves has come full circle: TCC graduate, TCC employee and commencement speaker. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
Academic advisor Claudia Garcia Aceves has come full circle: TCC graduate, TCC employee and commencement speaker. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

“I went through six months of chemotherapy and 12 rounds of radiation,” she said. “I knew I had to go back after my treatment and did. I now have a master’s in business administration. I wanted to give back, so I came back to work for TCC in admissions so that I could help people like myself when I first arrived. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the foundation that TCC set for me.”

TCC’s graduation rates have been trending up in the past two to three years, said graduation specialist Ami Dominguez.

Dominguez believes the upward trend can be attributed to a rise in enrollment as well as TCC’s graduation outreach program that identifies students who have completed a degree and/or certificate and may not know it.

“The outreach process will notify the student they have completed all requirements for a degree and award it to them,” she said. “In the past, students who did not apply for graduation who completed all their degree and/or certificate requirements were not awarded the credentials.”

Many students are graduating with some type of honors designation, Dominguez said. Phi Theta Kappa, highest honors, high honors, honors and graduation with distinction are some of the designations students may receive.

Another number that is rising is veteran graduates, said NE geology instructor David Sallee. A total of 335 veterans are graduating this spring from across the district.

“I am sure the number will continue to grow as more and more service members transition to civilian status,” Sallee said. “To my knowledge, this is the first time TCC has tracked the number of graduating veterans officially.”

Sallee said the increase in veteran enrollment is one of the main reasons graduation rates among veterans is rising, but TCC is also doing a much better job of meeting the needs of veteran students.

“We have learned from the past, and we are doing so much more now to meet the needs of veterans,” he said. “We now have representatives from Veterans Affairs on campus, and we have counselors, advisors and registrars who specialize in dealing with veterans.”

Many students aren’t aware of the benefits an associate degree offers them, Dominguez said. Those earning an associate degree are more likely to get hired over someone who may have only a high school diploma or GED. It can also lead to advancements or promotions with current employers.

“Graduating with an associate degree prior to obtaining a bachelor’s degree opens up many opportunities for our students,” Dominguez said. “Some four-year schools automatically admit students with an associate degree, and it allows them to enter the workforce sooner rather than later. Due to the variety of technical programs for associate degrees, this can help a person become eligible to enter the workforce in a technical career field such as a dental hygienist or a physical therapist assistant.”

 

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