McGregor Students Find Their Passion for Learning at TSTC

(WACO) – Christina Pace is elevating her creativity through digital art.

Pace, 23, of McGregor designs fliers for Texas State Technical College in Waco’s Visual Art Society, which includes other TSTC Visual Communication Technology majors. It is practice for her future career in graphic design.

As she pursues her endeavors and studies, Pace finds motivation from others.

“It’s being able to be creative and work on my assignments and be surrounded by those who do the same,” she said.

Pace graduated in 2014 from McGregor High School and went on to earn an associate degree in art in 2016 from Temple College. At the time, she said she knew she needed to earn another degree.

Pace began classes in fall 2017 at TSTC. She said her art classes have helped her be a better artist as she uses concepts for space and composition and learns about Adobe’s creative platforms.

Pace is among more than 25 students from McGregor currently taking classes at TSTC in Waco.

Meanwhile, many students attending McGregor High School are partaking in career and technical education offerings that can lead to fruitful careers. The Texas Education Agency’s Texas Academic Performance Report for 2017-18 indicated that the McGregor Independent School District had more than 370 students in the program.

“We have made a big push in the last few years to expand our career and technical education programs,” said Seth Fortenberry, principal of McGregor High School. “We have a very strong construction and welding program at the high school where students have the opportunity to earn certifications prior to graduation.”

Fortenberry said the robotics program combines design, electronics and engineering for students to ultimately launch their own two rockets at the end of the school year.

“One rocket is built to carry a 1-pound payload one mile high, and the other is built to break the sound barrier,” he said.

Fortenberry said more courses could be added in the future for students to study drones and automotives.

“Two-year colleges are definitely an option for students,” he said. “We push them very hard to continue on into postsecondary education no matter the length, and many do end up choosing TSTC.”

Adrian Siller, 28, of Waco did not attend high school in McGregor but calls it home. He has traded in the study of sciences for suspensions.

Siller is working toward an Automotive Technology – Toyota Technician Training and Education Network, or T-TEN, specialization certificate at TSTC and is scheduled to graduate in summer 2020.

“I have always liked automobiles,” he said. “I did research on manufacturers and learned about Toyota.”

Siller shifted into studying the automotive field after earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology in 2014 from Texas A&M University. He said understanding the lectures and research processes during his first time in college has helped him at TSTC.

Siller has enjoyed the hands-on work on vehicles in the Transportation Technology Center’s T-TEN lab. His favorite lessons so far have dealt with testing and diagnosing electrical system problems.

Siller said his goal is to graduate from TSTC and then pursue a physics or mathematics degree. He wants to apply the technical and academic combination either to work in the automotive industry or to teach.

“This career will definitely take me to opportunities in a big city,” Siller said. “Right now I am eyeballing Austin.”

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