Vera Boda knows just how important it is for students to have others encourage them while pursuing an education. Boda, a college transition specialist with the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) Independent School District for The University of Texas-Pan American, keeps in touch with graduates of PSJA's high schools to see how they're faring in higher education.
"I see the positive impact on students when they know that people around them support their post-secondary goals and higher education," she said.
That's why Generation Texas (GenTX) Day, a statewide initiative that promotes a college-going culture, is so important to the Rio Grande Valley, she said.
"GenTX can inspire and change a student's life and provides this opportunity," Boda said.
UTPA will host several activities in honor of GenTX Day throughout campus and at high schools throughout the area on Friday, May 3.
On that day, everyone is asked to wear their UTPA T-shirts in support of GenTX.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to join UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen for a group picture in front of the UTPA Bronc statue at 8 a.m. that day. Door prizes will be given out at this activity.
Valley communities are encouraged to celebrate by taking group photos in front of their schools or businesses and sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Seeing teachers, administrators and community members wearing college shirts only serves to enforce and solidify the support," Boda said. "This simple and visible act is one way of showing students and families that higher education is important and attainable, and creates opportunities for people to share and engage on their personal stories, choices and careers."
Since 2010, communities throughout Texas have come together to promote GenTX Day, which the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board started to instill a college-going and career-ready culture across the state.
"UTPA has fully embraced this movement and encourages the youth of the Rio Grande Valley to continue striving for their goals," said Barbara J. Garza, associate director of UTPA's Department of College Access and Support Programs-Community Outreach Office, which oversees GenTX and other related programs."
Garza added that GenTX empowers students to be their best and shows them that there is support from their school, community and state.
"Our students are better prepared for being part of a school such as UTPA that embraces this statewide program," she said.
For more information or special accommodations, contact Garza at (956) 665-7597.