WESLACO, RGV – The Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council recognized students from PSJA Southwest Early College High School for designing a new logo and creating a marketing strategy for Valley Metro.

The Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Transportation Advisory panel approached PSJA Southwest Early College High School’s (ECHS) marketing program, PSJA Southwest Marketing, to give students the opportunity to develop a marketing strategy and campaign for the proposal of a unified transportation system in South Texas.

“This was done in order to develop an identity of sorts that would effectively communicate their message and their vision for the community at large,” Eloy Garza, marketing instructor at PSJA Southwest Marketing, said. “This is a part of what we do in our program at PSJA Southwest. We really focus on experiential learning opportunities for our students in order for them to advance in their professional development and understanding of business and entrepreneurship.”

For the past four years, PSJA Southwest Marketing has been a student-run, nonprofit marketing agency based out of Garza’s classroom. He says the marketing program is a part of a larger comprehensive effort at PSJA Southwest ECHS known as the PSJA Southwest Center for Unified Business and Entrepreneurship (CUBE). Other programs include business management, audio and video, business information management as well as information technology.

“CUBE will act as an incubator for businesses in our area who seek business services. If you don’t have the wherewithal to accomplish these activities on your own or with an agency then come and help the students learn in the best way possible. Our students are getting the opportunity to build and grow their professional development at the age of 15,” Garza said.

“What we hope to offer to our students is as an opportunity to work hand-in-hand and side-by-side as equals with local business partners and local business leaders to offer experiential learning.”

With UTRGV’s new Center of Innovation and Commercialization (CIC), Garza believes the university and PSJA Southwest ECHS can complement each other. PSJA Southwest recently worked with UTRGV’s Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship (VCOBE) for internship opportunities.

Garza told the Rio Grande Guardian there is a wonderful opportunity where PSJA Southwest ECHS can start training students at a young age and then feed them into VCOBE which, he said, is an “amazing educational institution for business students” here in the area.

“Let’s start it young,” Garza said. “We have a proven model that I feel really helps our students prepare for the future and let’s give UTRGV, our community university, the best and brightest that we can offer. So, in turn, it is going to make our community, our economy and our infrastructure here in this area stronger and better.”

Garza revealed two logos, RGV Metro which brings together all of the transit systems of South Texas into a single entity, and another logo for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Transportation Advisory panel. The team lead for this project was Karina Padron, a senior at PSJA Southwest ECHS. She led a team of eight students and found that management means a lot to an organization such as Southwest Marketing.

“Overall, the value of work they gave us and sharing countless hours with them, trying to work together, was overwhelming. But at the end of the day it’s worth it. At the end of the day, when we graduate and we walk out the door we’re not afraid of reality,” Padron said.

“We have the experience and the knowledge and when we go into an interview we can tell them about our experiences. There’s a possibility people out of college don’t have the experience that we have when we just graduated high school and that’s something the program gave to us.”

Miguel Carlos, a senior at PSJA Southwest ECHS, was one of Padron’s team members who contributed to the design of the logos and marketing strategies. He found that one of the most essential qualities for a project is teamwork.

“It was a team working design and we all had to work as a team in order for this to happen,” Carlos said. “Throughout the entire year that teamwork is the best thing to do.”