Texas Southmost College held their 11th annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the TSC Performing Arts Center on Friday, November 10, 2023 at 11 am. The event, which was open to the public, featured a mix of spoken word tributes and ceremonial military practices, all in the spirit of paying honor to those who have served and continue to serve. The event also featured a guest speaker in retired U.S. Army Captain Adrianna M. Montoyadaza, as well as members of the Rivera Early College High School Air Force JROTC program performing the Posting of the Colors ceremony.

With a significant number of its students being military veterans, TSC has long upheld this tradition of acknowledging the sacrifices made by all who have enlisted in service of the country. To Mark A. Aguero, Coordinator of TSC’s Veterans Success Center and a USMC/USNR Veteran himself, there is a great importance in making sure that those who choose to devote a portion of their lives to military service are recognized.

“We are eternally grateful to all of those men and women who have fought and served our country,” said Aguero. “Their valor and courage in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families out deepest respect.”

Aguero’s responsibilities extended to both organizing the event as well as acting as master of ceremonies, further demonstrating his commitment to ensure that military veterans are acknowledged and shown appreciation for their service.

For those veterans who choose to pursue higher education post-enlistment, TSC’s Veteran’s Success Center has long played a crucial role in making certain that many of them receive the information and guidance necessary to make it into the classroom. The overall goal of the office is to assist veteran applicants by providing them with the necessary resources to ensure a smooth transition from military life into academic life.

TSC student and United States Navy veteran Jose D. Ortiz is well aware that moving from the military realm to the academic realm is not as simple as many may assume it to be. “There’s definitely a transition from military life to civilian life,” said Ortiz. “It can be hard on some veterans, and everyone reacts to it differently.”

Ortiz, a Brownsville native who went straight into the military after graduating from high school in 2017, is one of many veterans who discover that their post-military path leads to college. With TSC offering a robust selection of medical career training programs, the choice to enroll was an easy choice for him to make. “I saw that TSC had medical programs, and a good friend of mine urged me to look into the Respiratory Care program. I’ve always liked the medical field, and I heard food things about the program, so it seemed like a natural fit for me,” he said.

Furthermore, the college’s location provided him with a golden opportunity to both study and be closer to his family. “I’m very family-oriented,” said Ortiz, “and it was tough for me whenever I couldn’t be with my siblings to celebrate some of their major accomplishments. I know I could have gone further away, but I wanted to stay so that I could help out my family and contribute however I could.”