(SWEETWATER) – One of Texas State Technical College’s recent alumni from the Welding Technology program has left a high mark for future students to attain.
Luis Rueda, 20, of Colorado City took dual credit classes while a student at Colorado High School and received an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology in August. He also earned two other graduating honors.
“Luis has continually proven that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make a great hand,” said Taylor Elston, a TSTC Welding Technology instructor.
Elston awarded Rueda the Outstanding Graduate Award, a recognition putting him at the top of his Welding Technology classes.
“He is constantly asking knowledgeable questions, diligently checking his work, and he focuses hard on perfecting his craft with great efficiency,” Elston said.
Rueda also earned the Provost Award from TSTC in West Texas Provost Rick Denbow. Denbow chooses one student each semester to receive the award from those who have received the Outstanding Graduate Award in their program.
“I am so proud of Luis,” said Elston. “I’m glad he got the Provost Award too. He worked hard to earn it.”
According to Elston, Rueda was a consistent leader in the classroom.
“Luis never stops working,” said Elston. “He can work circles around everyone else and still always seems to be the happiest and the least tired.”
In between welding sessions, Rueda found time to enjoy himself and make friends on campus.
“(My favorite memory is) the day we had at the cook-off at the lake,” said Rueda. “It was pretty fun.”
Rueda has always shown promise.
He has been a student at TSTC in Sweetwater since 2015, when he enrolled as a Welding Technology dual credit student through Colorado High School. He first entered Elston’s class as a timid junior but quickly began to show signs of a talented craftsman.
“His junior year he mostly kept to himself,” said Elston. “However, as a senior he was in a fabrication course during the same hours they were juniors in an intro welding course. After he had all his own assignments in, he would hang out with the younger guys and watch them weld and give them pointers.”
Rueda decided to go into the dual credit program after his brother told him how fun and interesting welding was.
“It was a great opportunity that not all schools offer you,” said Rueda. “I just thought it was a great opportunity that my school was offering and that it was gonna help me in my future since I decided that I wanted to be a welder.”
After graduating high school in 2017, Rueda continued his education at TSTC with 15 college credit hours on his transcript, saving him time and money. Rueda was already in the know about how college worked and what his instructors expected of him, putting him ahead of the game from his first semester as a college student.
“I already knew how to weld by the time I graduated high school, so I didn’t have to worry about that and already knew my instructors well and how they worked,” Rueda said.
Since Rueda’s graduation in August, he has recently been hired to build pressure vessels at Tri-Point LLC in Midland.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.