San Jacinto College student Serina Guerra has entered her second year at the College, pursuing a degree in psychology. Thanks to the Promise @ San Jac Scholarship, she can pursue both her career goals and her passion for music.
"I am so thankful to Promise @ San Jac for the opportunity to attend college for free," Guerra said. "On top of my core classes, I was surprised and excited to learn that I could enroll in the steel drum band as part of the scholarship."
Since Guerra is a first-generation college student, the scholarship has made a big impact on her future.
"I've never known what college I wanted to go to. It wasn't something I thought about very much," she said. "The Promise pledge encouraged me to enroll, and I'm so happy I did."
Thanks to a $30 million donation from philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, the College created a Student Success Fund Endowment to expand Promise @ San Jac Scholarships. Now available to every in-district high school graduate, these scholarships cover up to three years of tuition and books so students can earn a degree or certificate debt-free.
Now a member of the College's steel drum band, Guerra picked up a set of drumsticks for the first time seven years ago as a student at Park View Intermediate and then Sam Rayburn High School.
"Serina was a flute player at Park View. She was one of my first students to show a deep interest in steel band," said Garrett Sanborne, Park View band director. "She especially loved to play lead pan and worked very hard at it. When I wrote new music, I didn't have to worry because she would master even the most challenging parts."
Guerra learned quickly and developed a new passion. At Sam Rayburn, she continued to thrive under the direction of Michael Royer.
"I love playing steel drums because it can be very liberating. I take my stress and frustration and put that into playing," Guerra said. "I was nervous to join the band at San Jac because I hadn't played for about a year, but you can feel the energy of the group, and you just go for it."
Guerra is studying to become a pediatric cognitive behavioral psychologist and looking to transfer to the University of Houston-Clear Lake after San Jac.
Become a Promise Partner
Want to help students like Guerra? From the gas pump to the grocery store, you feel the impact of climbing prices, and so do our students. They need your help now more than ever. Become a Promise Partner for as little as $10/month for five years.
How could this make a difference over five years?
Your tax-deductible gift will go toward endowment earnings to pay for Promise Scholars' tuition. And as a thank-you, you'll receive a handmade pottery mug to remind you of the part you play in a student's success story.
To learn more about becoming a Promise Partner, call 281-998-6104 or visit sanjac.edu/promise-partner.