September 6, 2016
Vol. 3, Issue 29
Board of Trustees

Chairman of the Board
Dr. Yvonne Katz
District 7

Vice Chair
Marcelo Casillas
District 4

Dr. Gene Sprague
District 6

Asst. Secretary
Denver McClendon
District 2

Joe Alderete, Jr.
District 1

Anna U. Bustamante
District 3

Roberto Zarate
District 5

Clint Kingsbery
District 8

James Rindfuss
District 9

Emmanuel Nyong
Student Trustee


Dr. Bruce Leslie
Alamo Colleges
Mexican Becalos Students Begin Fall Semester at Alamo Colleges
Students in the Becalos international exchange program 
have begun Fall 2016 classes at the Alamo Colleges.

Ninety-plus Mexican Becalos scholarship students recently completed the Early Acclimatization Student Exchange (EASE) portion of the program and were greeted and congratulated by the Consul of Mexico and Alamo Colleges' Chancellor Dr. Bruce Leslie. The students then enjoyed a trip to Six Flags Fiesta Texas and began classes at the Alamo Colleges.  Students also will be starting internships at the Alamo Colleges District Office, the Consulate of Mexico, and the Northside Independent School District. The students will be attending Alamo Colleges for a full semester.

The Becalos program is part of a joint U.S.- Mexico effort to expand opportunities for educational exchanges and research collaborations with particular emphasis in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Becalos program provides scholarships to students from bilingual technical universities in Mexico to attend one semester at a U.S. community college, including the Alamo Colleges.

Alamo Colleges - St. Philip's College Student
Lake Named 2016 White House HBCU All-Star
Alamo Colleges - St. Philip's College student Damon Lake has been selected as a 2016
White House HBCU All-Star.

Alamo Colleges - St. Philip's College (SPC) student Damon Lake has been selected to undertake a year of public service aimed at helping officials in the White House and the U.S. Department of Education to connect with students in order to evaluate and advance academic excellence at historically black colleges.

Lake will participate in the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) All-Stars program that supports the White House goal of helping 60% of Americans ages 25-34 to complete an associate degree or higher by 2020. Lake is only the second All-Star from SPC to be selected for the three-year-old program. 

His initial formal training will take place during the HBCU Week Conference, October 23-26 in Washington, D.C., and he has rolled his status as an All-Star into his work as an activist in San Antonio. 

"I was in Colorado when I got the news on my phone, and I've been engaging with them on Facebook ever since," said Lake, who graduated in 2005 from Memphis Middle College High School in Tennessee, before moving to San Antonio in pursuit of better economic prospects in 2013. 

Lake plans to graduate from SPC in 2018 and is one of the original members of the San Antonio contingent of the White House's two-year-old My Brother's Keeper initiative that provides support to help young people stay on track.

As a trained All-Star for the 2016-2017 academic season, Lake will give back by promoting education when he returns from the October conference, where he will learn in-depth about his duties that serving as a role model for college completion and discovering resources that he can share with others in San Antonio.

(l to r) Alamo Colleges - Palo Alto College student Melanie Salazar and her grandfather, Rene Neira, are both attending PAC this fall.

82-Year-Old Alamo Colleges - Palo Alto College Student's Story Goes Viral
on Twitter

Alamo Colleges - Palo Alto College (PAC) students Melanie Salazar and Rene Neira were looking forward to attending college together this fall, not just as fellow students but as family. Neira, 82, is taking the final course required for his associate degree, and his granddaughter, Salazar, is just beginning her college journey.
Salazar never suspected that a Twitter post about her grandfather would draw much attention; but when she tweeted photos of her grandfather after his first class, the Twitter community was inspired. Thousands of people liked and retweeted her post, eventually attracting the interest of news media around the globe.

The close relationship between the two is clear. Salazar said that they are best friends, and that she aspires to "be exactly like him." Neira said he is very proud of Salazar's character and many achievements in high school.

"I'm real proud of her and what she has done. Maybe I have been an inspiration to her, I don't know," said Neira. "All I was doing was pursuing my own dreams of getting a degree."

Neira started college back in the 1950s, where he first became interested in economics. However, college got put on hold when he got married and started a family. 

"I struggled in college. It wasn't easy, so at first I didn't have the motivation to go back," said Neira, adding, "I never lost that desire to get my degree."

For much of his life, Neira channeled his interest in economics by actively pushing for economic growth in south San Antonio, and even taking part in the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He never lost sight of getting his degree and encouraged his family to pursue higher education, starting with his own children.

"I know it's only going to be for one semester, so I'm going to cherish it while I can," said Salazar, adding that she will definitely cry when she sees her grandfather cross the graduation stage next spring.

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The Alamo Colleges mission is: empowering our diverse communities for success. Our vision is: the Alamo Colleges will be the best in the nation in student success and performance excellence. The Alamo Colleges is one district with five community colleges serving more than 90,000 students annually from Bexar County and seven other counties in our service area. We provide an affordable, quality college education that leads to associate degrees, certificates and transfers to four-year universities. Hundreds of thousands of Bexar County residents who have come through the Alamo Colleges education programs are major contributors to the economy and culture of Sa
n Antonio.