PSJA ISD alumni, students share advice during district's National Manufacturing Day event
PHARR – In celebration of National Manufacturing Day, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA) in collaboration with the Pharr Economic Development Corporation, South Texas Manufacturing Association (STMA) and South Texas College (STC) hosted an event highlighting the life and business of manufacturing in South Texas on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at the PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School Cafetorium.
During the event, PSJA ISD high school students enrolled in Career & Technology Education courses got an overview of the STC Dual Enrollment Program and learned more about the college's Advanced Manufacturing Technology program.
In addition to hearing from the keynote speaker Trung Nguyen, the Plant Manager of Royal Technologies in Mission, Mike Willis, Executive Director of STMA, Dr. Esmeralda Adame, STC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Chair and Victor Perez the Pharr Economic Development Corporation Executive Director and PSJA School Board Member, studentsalsolistened tocurrent and former PSJAstudents pursuing Associate Degrees in Manufacturingduring a student panel.
During the panel, two alumni currently attending STC and four current PSJA seniors shared valuable advice and answered questions about their experience in the manufacturing program. The current seniors all attending PSJA Southwest Early College High School are set to be the first cohort of high school students in the district to graduate with an Associate Degree in Manufacturing next May.
For Jorge Barron, Jr., one of the seniors participating in the program, participating in the manufacturing program has been eye-opening.
"Working and designing during the class has made me realize how much I Iove this field," Barron told students. "Manufacturing is so important because we turn metal into amazing things that are necessary in our lives."
The PSJA alumni participating in the panel encouraged students to complete their degree while in high school.
"If I could go back to high school I would definitely take advantage of the program," shared PSJA alumnus Ivan Montes about his experience. "The books and classes alone are so expensive. It's amazing to see that PSJA provides the [books and classes], plus transportation all free of cost."
PSJA ISD, through a partnership with South Texas College, currently provides comprehensive instruction that aligns post-secondary education with high school curriculum pathways, which includes the district's current Automotive Technology, Precision Manufacturing and Welding Programs, to name a few.