TSC Welding graduation ceremony reflects scholarship success

In 2021, Stephen De La Garza donated $35,000 to the Texas Southmost College Foundation to fund full scholarships for students interested in the college’s craft training programs.

Since then, 12 students received scholarships funded by De La Garza’s donation, and they recently graduated from TSC’s Welding program, including nephew and uncle duo Christopher Solis and Eric Solis, respectively.

The dozen graduates were honored with a ceremony and luncheon where they received their Fitter Welder and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10 certifications.

“I call this a blessing,” said Christopher. “This is going to open up a number of opportunities for me and I would not be where I am today without this scholarship and donors like Mr. De La Garza.”

Eric said having skills that are in demand is a large accomplishment he credits to Mr. De La Garza and TSC.

“Students like me have been able to gain the knowledge and skills we need for a field that is in demand right now, especially here in Brownsville, and because of these scholarships, that’s invaluable,” he said. “I’m so humbled and I’m going to work hard, so that I can get to a point, where like Mr. De La Garza, I can donate to help others too.”

As a token of appreciation, the welding graduating class artistically created and welded a scorpion out of metal parts that was presented to De La Garza during the ceremony.

De La Garza, a local Brownsville native and entrepreneur, said he has seen firsthand the difference a scholarship can make for a student, and he has always made it his mission to provide what he can so others can find success.

“To impact lives in a way that provides opportunity, well, that’s the ultimate reward,” said De La Garza. “Any student who wants a college education, should be able to get an education without money being a barrier. TSC is doing a wonderful job by opening doors and providing a high-quality education. Together, we’re making sure that college is for all.”

De La Garza has committed to fund additional scholarships building upon TSC’s efforts to make college more affordable for families and explaining that each contribution changes lives and is a crucial resource for TSC.

TSC President Jesus Roberto Rodriguez said the ceremony was a symbol of what happens when a community comes together to support students and their futures.

“It is this collaborative spirit of our community to make things work and this celebration has been a year in the making,” he said. “It was 2021 when Mr. De La Garza made his first contribution and we are now celebrating achievement and success. We are thankful to Mr. De La Garza for his commitment and belief in Texas Southmost College.”

For more information, visit TSC’s Welding and Workforce Training programs or call 956-295-3724.