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Commencement: A celebration across all generations

San Jacinto College Commencement Ceremonies are a family affair. Friends, siblings, parents and their children gather to walk across the stage each semester to receive college degrees and certificates and to begin the next chapters of their lives.

Mother/daughter duo Ruby and Rebekkah Aguilar “pushed each other every step of the way.”

mother daughter“We’d keep each other off the phone and talk about how our day went at school,” said Rebekkah Aguilar. “We knew what each other was going through because we were both college students.”

Rebekkah Aguilar graduated with an associate degree in general studies with plans to transfer to a university. Ruby Aguilar graduated with her associate degree in medical laboratory technology with a job lined up at Bayshore Medical Center. She also graduated with her friend Khadija Tabiola, who received an associate degree in medical laboratory technology. Both women plan to earn their bachelor’s degrees at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

“This is my second degree from San Jacinto College,” said Tabiola, who commuted to her classes each day from her southwest Houston home. “I love San Jac. The staff and faculty understand what it’s like to go to college while also having a family.”

Steven Taff and his daughter Rian walked the commencement stage together. He received his associate degree in construction management, while she received her associate degree in paralegal studies. When Rian graduated from high school and started attending San Jacinto College, her father knew he had some unfinished business to pursue in college.

“My kids inspire me,” said Steven Taff. “I thought that maybe I was too old or just busy raising the kids but then I thought, ‘why not?’ I’ve been in construction for 25 years already, and this will reinforce my career and help me move up in the ranks of management.”

2017 also saw Juan Vargas graduate with his associate degree in engineering design graphics. His fellow family member on stage was his mother-in-law, San Jacinto College’s very own Dr. Brenda Hellyer. Ruby and Rebekkah Aguilar 10