Thrall Resident Overcomes Challenges En Route to TSTC Associate Degree

(HUTTO) – Jonathan Flores of Thrall was working in construction in 2014 when he was involved in an automobile accident in Williamson County.

Flores was thrown out of the vehicle he was in and found out soon afterward that he was paralyzed from the chest down. At the time, he said he did not think much about college. But while recovering and adjusting to his life’s changes, he said he knew he needed to further his education.

“If you want to do something, no matter what you want to do, you can do it,” Flores said.

Flores, 24, is a candidate for graduation with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Welding Technology at Texas State Technical College in Williamson County’s Fall 2018 Commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, at the East Williamson County Higher Education Center at 1600 Innovation Blvd. in Hutto.

“I got interested in welding because I like to build stuff,” Flores said. “After my accident, I couldn’t do much work.”

With some minor adapting, Flores is able to weld in EWCHEC’s first-floor labs. He enjoys fabricating the most.

“It was hard at first,” Flores said. “The instructors would tell you (to do it) a certain way, and sometimes I could not do it and I had to figure out a different way.”

Samara Flener, lead instructor of TSTC’s Welding Technology program, said she and faculty members admire Flores’ work ethic, attitude and determination.

“My priority became making sure he had access when he was in the booth and that he was as comfortable as all of the other students,” Flener said. “We will take 20 more of him.”

When he is not studying or working, Flores likes to play wheelchair basketball in Austin. He said it is good exercise and a way to connect with others.

Flores graduated in 2012 from Taylor High School, where he played soccer and took graphic design and engineering classes.

“I would see people weld and it looked cool,” he said.

His goal after graduation is to pursue a job in a fabrication shop in the Austin area.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.