The 18-year-old graduated this weekend with a certificate in Auto Body Repair during the college’s commencement ceremonies at the Jacob Brown Auditorium, where nearly 800 students received certificates and associate degrees.
For Velasco, this was the culmination of events he never expected he would have.
“I really was undecided on what I wanted to do after school, but looking back at the work I used to do with my dad, the experience I gained in auto body repair in high school and how the work felt rewarding, I decided to go for it. I had nothing to lose,” said the South Padre Island resident.
So, making the 40-minute drive from home to campus and back, Velasco used the last year to improve the skills he already had and add new ones to his toolbox.
“It really is exciting to think that this certificate can open doors and lead to other opportunities,” he said. “It’s been an eye-opening experience; it’s been invaluable to my growth and has given me a new outlook on my future.”
In addition to the hands-on training Velasco obtained in the classroom, he also had the chance to intern with Tipton Ford, an automobile dealership in Brownsville, shadowing industry professionals and even completing real-world repairs.
“My internship with Tipton Ford was one of the best opportunities I’ve ever received,” said Velasco. “I got an inside look at the fast-paced industry I’ve been training for, and I got to test my skills and my knowledge. Watching my hard work and pride go into these cars and making vehicles almost new again is rewarding.”
Velasco added that he still faced indecisiveness throughout the program about whether this career was for him, but it was his internship that confirmed he had made the right choice.
TSC Auto Body Repair Instructor Donald Wilt said Velasco has been one of his top students always learning, working hard, ensuring accuracy in his work and doing his best.
“I believe that whatever Mylo decides to do with this training, he will find success,” said Wilt. “He’s been an impressive student and it’s been a pleasure watching him grow. I’m proud of what he has already accomplished.”
Velasco expects to return to TSC in the fall to begin working toward an associate degree in Automotive Technology to widen the scope of work he can complete in the auto industry.
“I’ve had the chance to network with professionals older than me while a student at TSC, and they’ve shared their wisdom, wisdom that I admire. They’ve become my role models and I want to follow in their footsteps,” he said. “And that means being well-rounded in the field and gaining experience whenever possible.”
Velasco said following their lead and working hard is what will get him to his goal of owning an automotive, auto body repair shop in South Padre Island, where he knows there is a need.
“I never expected to be this young and have the choice of starting my career, but now that I am, I have to take advantage of what I’ve learned and earned to make something of myself and to be a good example for my family,” he said. “Thank you TSC, Mr. Wilt and everyone at Tipton Ford for making this possible.”
Registration for summer and fall 2022 is in progress; you can register at tsc.edu/register.