#VMThrowback: Alyssa C. Garza, Class of 2008

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The Magnet Tribune: Courtesy of Alyssa C. Garza

My undergraduate graduation at Texas State University in San Marcos in 2012. At left is Amanda Lee Cruz-Lombraña.

Alyssa C. Garza, Class of 2008

What is your name? Alyssa C. Garza

What years were you at VMT? 2004-2008

Fine arts or communication area: Journalism

Who was your fine arts/communication teacher(s)? Mr. Webber

1.) Has your fine arts or communication area helped you as an adult? Please explain. The knowledge and skills I obtained from being a part of VMT have undoubtedly helped me as an adult. I can personally attest to the positive benefits that stem from participating in a communications program in high school. Consequently, this experience essentially shaped my higher education trajectory. I attribute my interest in studying sociology and education to the experiences I had as a student in VMT’s communication program. I earned a B.S in Applied Sociology in 2012 and am currently pursuing a M.A in Sociology and a CMEd in Education.

2.) Did you pursue your fine art or communication area after high school? Please explain. Initially, I was interested in pursuing print journalism in college. I was a pre-journalism major the semester I took an introduction to sociology course. It was then that I realized that I was more interested in researching social institutions than I was reporting about them. However, the skills I attained during Mr. Webber’s journalism classes were extremely helpful and valuable after high school.

3.) What have you gotten out of VMT? As previously mentioned, my experiences at VMT greatly shaped what I now proclaim are my research interests and areas of expertise. I seek to understand what the factors that contribute to student’s success are. Even though I was led to that question based on my anecdotal experiences at VMT I have found that the inkling I had suggesting that fine arts and communication studies positively influence high school students’ retention and completion rates is largely supported by empirical research! There is no question that the work being done at VMT is life changing and altering. In a social justice education perspective, I aspire to conduct research that will help shape legislation that affects programs similar to VMT.

On a more personal note I gained lifelong friendships and mentorship relationships with former classmates and teachers. Those are priceless! They were particularly important to me during my first semester as a first generation college student. I had the amazing Mr. Webber and wonderful Mr. Arambula to chat with. When I felt inadequate or paralyzed with doubt they assured me that I could do anything I put my mind to! One of my journalism classmates, Monica, and I roomed together our freshmen year of college. My very best friend, Mandi, and I constantly bond over our fond memories at VMT.

4.) Were there any events during the time you were here that you enjoyed? Please describe. The good times at VMT were many. In particular I enjoyed the Hispanic Heritage celebrations. Given that the student population at VMT is predominantly Hispanic I think it’s extremely important for young students to have a sense of pride in the accomplishments and contributions Hispanics have made in our community. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn such valuable and empowering lessons while having fun. That event was a premier example of how effectively VMT teachers and staff collaborate to build a sense of community and pride within the campus. I have always felt that VMT is a part of my family!

5.) Is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t asked? I would like to add that I am extremely proud to call myself an alumna of VMT. I am extremely proud and impressed with the quality work that Mr. Webber’s students continue to produce. A lot of things have changed since I was a part of the journalism program but I see that they have kept up with the technological advancement. In particular I am impressed with the creative ways they are using social media to further engage their audience. Keep up the good work and cherish every moment you have at VMT because time will fly!

6.) My fondest memories are engaging in community service and outreach. The class of 2008 accomplished many great things! We organized a very successful Christmas ornament sale to purchase toys for the Casa Misericordia, collaborated to increase awareness of environmental issues such as the importance of recycling, and planted a tree in front of our cafeteria. I’ll never get tired of citing my experiences at VMT as profoundly influential to becoming the person I am today. My passion for issues in education, social justice activism, and appreciation for the arts stemmed from the time I spent at VMT!