TSC celebrates first associate degree dual enrollment grads

TSC Alum Raul Silva helping battle COVID-19 in New York City.

For Rivera Early College High School and Texas Southmost College Dual Enrollment graduate Emmanuel Sanchez, this is a huge accomplishment for him and his family as a first-generation college graduate at only 18-years-old.

The associate degrees conferred were in General Studies.

“I was hesitant at first to pursue this opportunity. It was intimidating and I thought it would take up too much of my time,” he said. “But now that I’m done, I’m so glad that I did it. It’s really prepared me and set me up to pursue my dream of going to law school.”

He added that the lessons he learned about time management and prioritization while a dual enrollment student is something he will carry with him going into St. Mary’s University in San Antonio this fall.

“TSC and Brownsville have so many opportunities for students like me if you’re willing to work hard and put in the time,” said Sanchez. “I’m so grateful to my high school and TSC for giving me and my family this opportunity. It was a dream come true.”

TSC President Jesus Roberto Rodriguez calls this a huge accomplishment for these students, TSC and the school districts the college works with.

“We’re proud of these students and everything they have accomplished,” said Rodriguez. “It’s rewarding to see them graduate and know that they got their start here at TSC. And we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

Students like Sanchez begin dual enrollment as freshman in high school giving them four years to complete or make significant progress on completing their pathway, a pathway that can range from general studies to more specific programs such as business or criminal justice.

Sarai Barrera, TSC Early College High School liaison, said dual enrollment students not only get ahead and save money, but they also get exposed to the rigor of a college education and a college experience they may otherwise not receive before graduating from high school.

“Exposure to college is the biggest benefit these students and parents can experience throughout their dual enrollment journey,” said Barrera. “By the time they graduate, students are ready for college by being familiar with processes, workloads and an overall college experience. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Barrera added that it is success stories like Sanchez’s that make TSC’s Dual Enrollment program rewarding and the reason why it’s expanding into other districts beyond Brownsville.

“We are seeing rapid enrollment growth from the partnerships we foster and seeing new districts joining us,” said Barrera. “Dual enrollment is a unique opportunity for these students and one that has a huge impact on their futures. We’re excited to share the opportunities we have for our students with our community.”

BISD Superintendent Rene Gutierrez said he feels proud about his students’ graduation and thankful that TSC has given them this type of opportunity.

“We are extremely proud of our high school students who have earned an associate degree from Texas Southmost College,” said Gutiérrez. “I want to thank our local community college for their efforts and collaboration in advancing our students with a higher education. This is a great opportunity allowing them to earn tuition-free college credit.”