Families take to the stage at Spring Commencement
05.19.2017 | By Jeannie Peng Mansyur
PASADENA, Texas – The 2017 San Jacinto College Commencement was a family affair. Friends, siblings, parents and their children walked across the stage at NRG Stadium on May 13, 2017, to receive college degrees and certificates for the next chapters of their lives.
“We pushed each other every step of the way,” said Rebekkah Aguilar, who graduated with her mother, Ruby Aguilar. “We’d keep each other off the phone and talk about how our day went at school. We knew what each other was going through because we were both college students.”
Ruby Aguilar graduated with her associate degree in medical laboratory technology and already has a job lined up at Bayshore Medical Center. Rebekkah Aguilar graduated with an associate degree in general studies and plans to transfer to a university. Ruby Aguilar also plans to earn her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch with her friend Khadija Tabiola. Tabiola walked at commencement earning her associate degree in medical laboratory technology and has an interview scheduled for employment.
“This is my second degree from San Jacinto College,” said Tabiola, who commuted to her classes each day from her southwest Houston home. “I love San Jac. The staff and faculty understand what it’s like to go to college while also having a family. They are there for you, and they know what it takes to get to this point.”
Steven Taff received his associate degree in construction management, while his daughter Rian Taff received her associate degree in paralegal studies on the same night. When Rian graduated from high school and started attending San Jacinto College, her father knew he had some unfinished business to pursue in college.
“My kids inspire me,” said Steven Taff. “I thought that maybe I was too old or just busy raising the kids but then I thought, ‘why not?’ I’ve been in construction for 25 years already, and this will reinforce my career and help me move up in the ranks of management.”
In addition to his daughter attending San Jacinto College, Steven Taff’s three younger children will attend San Jacinto College this coming fall. Ryan Taff was inducted into the Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) national honor society and will soon take her National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) exam. She plans to earn her bachelor’s degree and attend law school.
San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer had the opportunity to congratulate Juan Vargas, her son-in-law, on stage as he received his associate degree in engineering design graphics.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.