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PSJA ISD Senior inspired to pursue career in education

PSJA ISD Senior inspired to pursue career in education

Student earned associate degree a semester before graduating from high school 


PHARR - For Victoria Garcia, 12th grade student at PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School in Pharr, today she is one step closer to becoming an educator thanks to opportunities she’s received while attending Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD. 


Marking a significant milestone, through the district’s nationally recognized Early College Program, Garcia earned an Associate Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in December 2023, an entire semester ahead of her peers who will be graduating from high school this May 2024.  


“Dual credit courses help students with the transition from high school to college,” said Victoria Garcia. “The exposure of college courses while in high school prepares students for what will be expected. We gain knowledge and the experience of taking the classes which allows for a smoother transition.” 


According to the 2023 Texas Academic Performance Report, PSJA ISD leads the Region (5%) and State (2%) in graduating more high school students with Associate Degrees. Through the PSJA Early College Program in partnership with South Texas College, each year over 3,000 high school students are enrolled in dual credit college and concurrent enrollment courses. As one of few districts in the state and nation with a wall-to-wall Early College Program, at PSJA ISD students in all seven high schools can enroll in college courses getting a jumpstart on their career and future. Students can choose from over 12 career pathways and more than 25 specialized programs.  


The first-generation college student is grateful for the opportunity and the preparation she has gained that has paved the way for her to continue pursuing a bachelor’s degree after graduation and ultimately being one step closer to becoming a teacher. According to Garcia, it was her former English teacher, Kristy Perez, who first inspired her to become a teacher due to her care and passion for education. Garcia shared witnessing her support and mentoring students beyond the academics, making sure they knew she was there for them. 



In addition to graduating with two years of college without debt, Garcia who is also part of the district’s Dual Language Enrichment Program, will earn a Seal of Biliteracy on her diploma, officially certifying her as bilingual and bi-literate. PSJA ISD is the only district in the Rio Grande Valley offering this Seal to graduates that is recognized by education institutions and employers. 


At PSJA, the commitment to prepare students for success in today’s global society and workforce is unwavering. Through an equity-focused approach to education, students are equipped with academic knowledge and with essential skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. These skills are crucial in navigating their post-secondary education, careers, and beyond.  


With the foundation she's built during her time at PSJA ISD, Victoria Garcia is well on her way to achieving her dream of becoming an elementary teacher and eventually teaching English at the high school level. She believes the opportunities and support she has received from PSJA ISD have provided her with a solid educational background and invaluable experiencethat will serve her well as she pursues her dreams. 


In the spirit of equity and opportunity, PSJA ISD continues to welcome students from all walks of life, ensuring that every student has the chance to soar.  


The district is accepting students for the 2024-2025 school year. For more information about these programs and opportunities, visit: To schedule a campus tour or register, call 956.354.2167.