PHARR, Texas – Directors with the Pharr Economic Development Corporation have recognized Vanguard Academy students for successfully completing a summer internship program with local businesses.

The program came about thanks to a grant received by Vanguard. Vanguard in turn asked Pharr EDC to help place the students. The program was administered by Victor Perez and Karina Lopez of Pharr EDC and Monica Longoria of Vanguard.

“We are beyond blessed for having this opportunity,” Longoria said, at a recent Pharr EDC board meeting. She said the EDC has a great team.

Each of the students on the program spoke about their experience with the program. All said the experience was beneficial. One of the internships has led to a job offer. 

Pharr EDC President Ambrosio Hernandez, MD, said an internship program can help a student find out what he or she wants to do as a career.  

“A lot of this, you think you know what you want. But when you get your boots dirty and your hands dirty you can figure out what you really want to do,” Hernandez said.

Noting that the Vanguard students were placed with local small businesses for their internship, Pharr EDC board member Ramiro Caballero, MD, said small businesses are the backbone of any economy. 

“Small businesses are the heart of business anywhere. Small businesses can become big businesses. I have friends of mine that started with a small business in high school and made it into a multi-million dollar industry. I know people who started making tortillas who are now extremely successful,” Caballero said. 

“It all comes with hard work and customer service so hopefully those things you will learn. Business will not come to you. You have to go to business. You will learn a lot of the skills in college, people skills, networking, and being good to your customers. Always remember that and always try to help others because it always come back to you, also.”

Pharr EDC Secretary Reynaldo Perez said Pharr EDC and Vanguard Academy had come together to develop a “wonderful” program. He said that as an educator he knew students learn more when they go “beyond the classroom and beyond the text book.” He said getting “hands on” experience is invaluable.

“You represent your school well,” Perez said of the students. “All of you, basically, were awesome and professional. Speaking in front of an audience, you were well composed, you delivered well, you think on your feet, your minds are sharp. Keep it up.”

Perez added: “Life is always about learning something. Keep it up.”

Pharr EDC Vice President Ricardo Medina said he hoped the students would recommend it to their peers – if they liked it. He also thanked the small businesses that gave an opportunity to the students.

“I would like to thank, also, the sponsors, the businesses, like the Guardian, that took the time. Sometimes businesses do not want to get involved because they are so busy as it is. They don’t want to mess with students. I would like to thank the businesses that did participate. It is going to help you guys,” Medina said.

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