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Region One ESC GEAR UP connects high school boys to workforce leaders

The Region One Education Service Center (ESC) GEAR UP Program promoted career and technical education (CTE) by connecting Laredo-area members of its 12th grade cohort to industry leaders and professionals during a mentored golf tournament held Sept. 19 at Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course in Laredo.

The event was part of the program’s Together in Education for Success experience, a series of male mentorship symposiums.

Students represented Dr. Leonides G. Cigarroa High School, Raymond & Tirza Martin High School and Joseph W. Nixon High School of Laredo ISD and Lyndon B. Johnson High School and United South High School of United ISD.

Mentors networked with students and informed them of their post-secondary experiences while teaching them how to play golf.

“It is very important to have students learn about CTE through mentors,” said Leo Saenz, Region One ESC CTE Coordinator. “No one’s post-secondary experience is the same, and it is good to hear it from a mentor that will help students understand that they can be successful, too.”

Dimitri Garcia, Assessment Center Director at Laredo College, mentored students throughout the tournament, reminding them to pursue what they love.

“The best thing to do is to go into something that you love doing,” Garcia said. “It’s always good to go into something that you have a passion for. It’s not always about the money.”

Pablo De La Cruz, a senior at Laredo ISD Lyndon B. Johnson High School, said he enjoyed learning about the variety of post-secondary pathways from mentors.

“I learned that you don’t have to earn a traditional four-year degree to be successful,” De La Cruz said. “I plan to obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, but it is good to know that there are more options available to me if I decide to study something else.”