Local colleges are the foundation of small town education. Tuesday night, college students were taught determination was important to achieve their dream.
Junior and senior students from Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College were invited to join in a presentation at the Val Verde County Courthouse Court-at-Law at 6 p.m. Students were a mixture of online classes, teleconference and physical classes.
Students from the Eagle Pass and Uvalde campuses drove in to attend the presentation along with the locals.
Val Verde County Court-at-Law Judge Sergio Gonzalez explained the importance of education, even if it means longer hours. He also stated that the name of the college did not matter, rather the motivation the students present after college is what makes a difference.
Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Martin Guevara Urbina addressed the importance of taking the first step to seek higher education. He acknowledged higher education takes some time, as the students present ranged from recent high school graduates to older individuals with families.
Guevara is a Mexican-born American author, writer, researcher, professor and speaker. He spoke to the students about his struggles to achieve a higher education and how the smallest events can change lives.The presentation involved two speakers working within Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Del Rio Port of Entry Director Liliana Flores spoke about the obstacles she faced and her determination to continue reaching for higher merits.
Flores is a Sul Ross graduate and native Del Rioan, she acknowledged her career path would have been completely different if she had continued to follow in her sisters’ footsteps. Yet, during her time working within a school district she kept thinking back to her childhood memories of seeing CBP workers in their uniforms.
Flores’s children were her motivation to continue bettering herself in her career. “I try to instill what my father taught me; ‘to put 100 percent’ into everything and then some,” Flores said.
Since 2014 Flores has achieved three promotions. “It’s not easy and I’m grateful for the support system I have. It’s very rewarding to be back in my hometown and to be the new port of entry director,” Flores said.
Flores reminded the students that if they don’t have a dream then they will never know how to plan for their goals.
Another guest speaker, Special Agent Allan Cannon, also noted the sacrifices students will have to make.
“I would sit in my car, in between classes and night shifts, and I would take out my books and do homework. For others it looked weird seeing a cop doing homework, but I was determined to make a better living for my family,” Cannon said as he recalled his time in the police force in Tennessee.
After the speeches, students were allowed to ask the speakers question. Flores and Cannon were asked how they overcame fear and how they kept themselves motivated.
Cannon advised the students to not remain complacent. “Just because something looks frightening and you’re afraid to try that job, then you’re not going to grow as a person,” Cannon said.
He also advised the future graduates to do as many trainings provided in their future careers. Gonzalez thanked the speakers and as further encouragement for the students, presented past Sul Ross graduates that are currently working with the adult probation and juvenile probation offices.
The students took the speeches to heart and thanked the speakers for their words of encouragement and advice. “Their experience motivated me to accomplish what I desire in my criminal justice degree and future career field,” Sul Ross University in Del Rio student John Waters said.
Many of the students took the opportunity to speak to Flores and Cannon, in order to seek further individual advice. A few students walked away in order to drive safely back home, but everyone present left with the reminder that perseverance determined their future.