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Twin sisters enjoyed comforts of home during time at Victoria College

RiveraMelissa2 Twin sisters Melissa Rivera, left, and Kelly Lorance attended Victoria College together after graduating from St. Joseph High School.

Kelly Lorance and Melissa Rivera agree that there is at least one great advantage of having a twin sister.

“You are never alone,” Rivera said. “We were always together whether we went to summer camps, workshops or other things. We didn’t have to go anywhere by ourselves.”

Formerly Kelly and Melissa Hardin, the nonidentical twins also attended Victoria College together after graduating from St. Joseph High School in 1998. The choice to attend VC was an easy one for the sisters, who were the first in their family to go to college.  

“Victoria College provides such a home atmosphere,” said Lorance, who is the oldest of the twins by two minutes. “We were able to stay home and be comfortable going to the next level of education without the fear of the unknown.”

Rivera was more than happy to attend VC with her sister.

“I kind of trailed behind her like a little sister would,” Rivera said. “I never had to worry because she was always going to ask the questions, or state the answers, or find the way. I was more the shy one. I think she always presented herself as the older one because she’s so outspoken and I’m more laid back.”

Lorance transferred to the University of Houston-Victoria, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies. Lorance began her 16th year with Victoria ISD this fall and teaches fifth-graders at DeLeon Elementary School.

“I was placed in a speech development class in first grade, and that was the moment I knew I wanted to someday help kids,” Lorance said. “I can’t see any other profession fulfilling me like teaching. I not only have the opportunity to teach the children something new, but they also teach me as well. Kids are amazing, and there is no other job I would rather do.”

“Kelly makes a huge impact on the children from what I hear from her students and families,” Rivera said. “They respect her so much. We will go to the mall and run into some of her old students. They will tell her how much a difference she made in their life.”

Rivera went to work full time after attending Victoria College and is now the director of sales for Townsquare Media, a radio, digital media, entertainment and digital marketing company with local stations such as KIXS 108, Q92 and JACK FM.

“I manage local accounts and oversee our digital platform of services as well as our live events,” Rivera said. “I kind of do a little bit of everything.”

According to her sister, one of Rivera’s greatest passions is assisting those in need.

“Melissa will find a family who needs clothes or other necessities and do whatever she can to help them,” Lorance said. “She will go pick up clothes or send me to go get them. She’s always doing something to help someone. During Hurricane Harvey, she was everywhere.”

The sisters said they see Victoria College give back to the community as well.

“We have had VC’s Respiratory Care Program students come to our school and do an anti-smoking presentation,” Lorance said. “I think that is huge. It makes a big impact on the kids.”

“Victoria College students are eager to assist in the community because this is their community,” Rivera said. “The vast majority of the students are from here, so they want to give back. I see so many VC students and employees assisting at nonprofit events, always helping and always volunteering.”

Lorance and Rivera are proud to say they never considered leaving home to continue their education.

“VC students are stepping out from home in a way, but they can still get the guidance from home that they need,” Lorance said. “When we have Career Day and the kids want to know where I went to school, I tell them, ‘Right here.’ They are often surprised. I tell them they don’t have to go to a huge university. There are a lot of benefits of staying here.”