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KEY Center helped VC student survive transition to college

Daniel Silva 1 Victoria College graduate Daniel Silva has transferred to Texas A&M University-College Station to study chemical engineering.

Daniel Silva appreciates Victoria College’s KEY Center for much more than just its refrigerator.

Silva, 21, began classes at VC during the Spring 2017 semester while commuting from Edna and working the overnight shift at The Home Depot in Victoria. He often had to sneak in a lunch by eating a home-cooked meal in his car.

“Driving from Edna, having an 8 a.m. class, and arriving home and going to sleep at about 2 a.m. did not mix too well,” Silva said. “For about half the semester, I left my food in the hot car. At least it never got cold.”

Through it all, Silva learned the power of maintaining a positive attitude. He walked the stage on May 13 to receive his Associate of Science degree and is now attending Texas A&M University to pursue a chemical engineering degree.

“I remember one hot, sweaty afternoon I got in my car, rolled down the windows and the sun was beaming on my face through the windshield,” Silva said. “I took the first bite of a hot, soggy sandwich, looked around to the left and right, and had to laugh.”

Silva’s academics and lunchtime regimen soon changed after he was accepted into Victoria College’s KEY Center.

“They called me in for an interview, which was a huge blessing and not only because they had a fridge to keep my food fresh every day,” Silva said.

The KEY Center helped Silva improve his communication skills and convinced him it was OK to seek help along his academic journey.

“People who know me know I’m not a person to ask favors or sit down with people to talk about issues that are bothering me,” Silva said. “But the KEY Center became like a second home for me. It is a place where everyone feels welcomed and comfortable.”

Silva, who also serves in the Army Reserve, feels more than ready to make the step to a four-year university.

“I feel like I have learned everything I need to know to survive at A&M,” Silva said. “The KEY Center taught me not to be shy or afraid to ask for things I need. I am not a bit worried.”

The KEY Center, which provides assistance for low-income, first-generation, or disabled college students, is accepting applications for students attending VC during the fall semester.

Services include free printing, individual tutoring, access to laptops and iPads, financial assistance, scholarships, and one-on-one academic and career advising. The KEY Center is a TRiO Student Support Services Program 100-percent funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information, call (361) 582-2414 or pick up an application at Johnson Hall, Room 101, on Victoria College’s Main Campus.