As of Friday, 105 East Texas students will have earned their diplomas as part of Tyler Junior College’s first group of TJC Promise scholars.
“We’ve had several students graduate already from the initial class, but the largest number of Promise scholars will be graduating this week,” said Matthew Ramirez, TJC Promise director. “This is a very exciting time for these students, and we wish them the best in the next chapter of their lives.”
The TJC Promise provides students from 18 participating area high schools with the opportunity to earn up to two years of tuition and fees at TJC, if they complete the program’s attendance, community service and GPA requirements. While attending TJC, Promise participants benefit from dedicated Success Coaches that help them navigate their collegiate experience.
Participating high schools include: Smith County — All Saints Episcopal School, Bishop T.K. Gorman, Brook Hill, Chapel Hill High School, Christian Heritage, Cumberland Academy, Early College High School (Tyler ISD), Good Shepherd School, Grace Community School, Lindale High School, King’s Academy Christian School, Tyler Classical Academy, Tyler High School, Tyler Legacy High School and Winona High School; Van Zandt County — Grand Saline High School and Van High School; and Wood County — Mineola High School.
The costs are covered through a combination of TJC Foundation scholarships and TJC Promise funds, plus state and federal grants.
While some TJC Promise graduates are continuing their education at universities, others are going directly into the workforce.
Sidney Arnold, an education major from Lindale, is earning her Associate of Arts and plans to transfer to The University of Texas at Tyler, with eventual plans to become a teacher.
“When I arrived at TJC, I knew I wanted to get involved,” Arnold said. “Joining the Apache Band and Apache Chiefs has helped me to be more involved and confident. Amazing professors have driven me to do my best, and I am very thankful for them. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of the TJC Promise.”
Damon Jones, of Winona, is earning an Associate of Applied Science in powerplant technology.
After graduation, he will begin his second internship with Texas Eastman, where he will focus on producing electricity for the power grid and for the Texas Eastman chemical plant.
Jones is also considering furthering his education to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
“TJC was amazing,” Jones said. “I feel very prepared to move forward.”
The 61 students graduating during Friday’s TJC commencement ceremonies are (alphabetical by high school):
Bishop T.K. Gorman — Julia Eddings
Chapel Hill High School — Derick Beard, Katelynn Carter, Anthony Chavez, Millicent Chinon Ezeigwe, Lewis Davis, Sean Donnelly, Jeremy Hedricks, Jared Jones, Kassidy Mumphrey and Glenn Smith
Cumberland Academy High School — Parker R Arnold, Bryan Avellaneda, Shellbee L. Bassett, Cristian A. Ewton, Michael L. Fields and Al Martinez
Grace Community School — Sydney Williamson
Grand Saline High School — Hailey Darby, Eric Jimenez, Rebekah Harrington, Luis Marroquin and Maria Sanchez
Lindale High School — Sidney Arnold, Alondra Castillo Solis, Aja Curry, Lindsay Hawkins, Elizabeth Montgomery, Theresa Park, Alyssa Ramsey, Mary Starkey and Henry Waggoner
Tyler High School — Stephanie Gandarilla, Jacqueline Castillo, Jasmine Lopez, Sh'Kayla McGee, Angel Amaro, Jade Galindez, Joel Sanchez, Ruth Vizcaino and Jose Ramirez
Tyler Legacy High School — Davianna Crockett-Bickham, Nathaniel King, Lauren Johnson, Annika McClure, Curt Pearson, Karleigh Perez, Omar Rangel and Emily Wear and Olivia Winegeart
Van High School — Yessenia Dragustinovis, Myia Davis, Courtney Huff, Makena Koch, Nolan Jay, Gabriel Letsch, Aliyah Moosberg and Melissa Sanchez
Winona High School — Damon Jones, Andru Mendoza and Layla Napper
For more information, go to TJC.edu/Promise.