May Bragging Breakfast Celebrates Graduates

The May Bragging Breakfast, hosted by Northwest Vista College Student Success, was filled with motivational student stories.

NVC Vice President Debi Gaitan thanked Student Success for helping to make Monday’s graduation ceremony the largest in NVC history with 901 students.

Wearing a Marvel t-shirt, Debi said it takes “heroes to remove obstacles and create opportunities for students. Our ‘Endgame’ is to win the war of poverty.”

To help illustrate the impact employees have on students, a series of student video testimonials were played. One in particular, Kevin Wear was wounded overseas and some of his fellow soldiers lost their lives. While doing rehabilitation, he told his nurses he wanted to go to college even though medical staff told him he wouldn’t be able to walk or talk again. Just a few years later, he’s now about to cross the stage, graduating with honors cords, in the Water Resource Science program.

NVC President Dr. Baser added “that’s what keeps my heart pounding” hearing student testimonials of persevering and reaching goals. He added if you don’t directly support students, support someone on campus who supports students.

Following the videos, faculty Denise Tolan, Diana Kersey and Brittany Lopez talked about their Vista Vida Exploratory Committee, which received a grant with the goal to create a collaborative creative experience for students. Brittany visited the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, and Denise went to Meow Wolf arts and entertainment company in New Mexico to get ideas to bring back to NVC. To start the collaborative, the Lantana Review and Vista Vida teams will offer Work in Progress nights in the fall where students can showcase their art, dance or creative works, then work on how to improve it, sometimes with guest speakers.


  • Recipients of the 2019-2020 Foundation Innovation Grants:
    • The NVC Zine Library by Rose Rodriguez
    • “NVC Sidekicks: A Peers-Supporting-Peers Program” by Angela Cavazos-Barajas and Elizabeth Ceballos
    • “Supporting the Student Success Assessment Journey” by Lydia Beaver and Elladean Moreno
    • “STEAM Makerspace” by Thomas Pressley, Mark Jurena, Richard Crabb, Vice Sertich, Diana Kersey, Sylvia Lopez De La Garza, Deana Apple
  • 2019 FBLA-PBL National Leadership Conference – NVC Vice President Erin Sherman asked for volunteers for the NLC conference to serve as judges. She said over 16,000 students will come to the conference in downtown San Antonio. Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. (FBLA-PBL) is the largest career student business organization in the world. Each year, FBLA-PBL helps over 230,000 members prepare for careers in business.
  • The NVC Information Technology & Communication team gave the Wildcat Spirit Award to Leslie Moore of College Budget office.
  • Wildcat Wellness Team – NVC Public Relations Director Renata Serafin introduced this new team and said their purpose is to advocate and be cheerleaders for employee wellness. Co-chairs are Renata and Daniel Johnson; Team advisor/consultant Karla Ellis; and members are Joe Dimas, Marsha Gonzales, Charlie Young, Tamotia Franks, Barbara Guerra, Emily Marshall, and Dr. V. June Pedraza.
  • Commencement Highlights:
    • Commencement Speakers: NVC 2013 Alumna Janice Castillo and her son and current NVC student/part-time employee Nathaniel Castillo Rodriguez
    • The commencement team will continue the Cum Laude Honor system
    • VIP dinner for all volunteers is at 5pm in the Frontier Room and will continue until 8 pm.
    • 14 students will sing the National Anthem
    • Students will able to choose where they sit with a new software system
    • Instead of a balloon drop, there will be a glow stick party.
  • Faculty Teri Dimas brought up some her Personal Fitness Training Program students to give them praise for a recent event they coordinated. The class raised over $4,000 this semester for student scholarships in an event that attracted 68 competitors racing for the top three spots.
  • Vanessa Flores’ (Records Audit team) son will be receiving his Associates of Science in Computer Science and will participate in the graduation ceremony.
  • NVC’s Mark Tovar said a heartfelt good bye as he ventures into private practice in the counseling field.

Touchstone: Creativity

“We think beyond the usual parameters to engage in and support innovations that continually recreate our learning community as a model of excellence in higher education.”

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