May is the season for caps and gowns. Students from kinder to high school to college are starting new chapters in their lives.
This month 15-year-old Jayden James Garcia will take the stage at Coastal Bend College in Beeville as one of the youngest teenagers to graduate college with an Associate’s of Science, said Valerie Garcia, Jayden’s mom.
Jayden is the son of Valerie and Denise Garcia, and has a sister, Miranda Brooke Garcia.
“He’s done so well this year, scholastically and athletically,” Valerie said. “I don’t know any kids in the area that have graduated with an associates at 15-years-old.”
Jayden attends Ben Bolt – Palito Blanco High School and is currently ranked as the valedictorian of his junior class. He hopes to graduate in June 2022 and has plans to attend the University of Alabama. His goal is to become a cardiovascular surgeon to help people.
Jayden said he is honored to be getting his associate’s degree and never envisioned himself at this stage of his life. He gets his motivation from his family, especially his godmother.
Jayden’s godmother, Fallyn Marie, lost her life to Type 1 diabetes. According to Jayden and Valerie, Fallyn Marie was the valedictorian of her class until it was “taken” from her due to a college course a fellow student took. Fallyn Marie never got the chance to take advantage of college courses. She died in August 2017.
When Jayden heard of his godmother’s story, he decided to fulfill her dream by working hard. With his godmother’s motivation, he started taking his early college courses and dual credit courses in the fall of 2019 as a freshman. When COVID-19 hit, Jayden took full advantage of virtual schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He used his time at home to complete as many college courses as he could handle, Valerie said.
“It’s all about time management. Once I applied myself, I found that my high school work was a breeze. After that work was done, I’d start on my college assignments and then sports and hobbies,” Jayden said. “When you’re in so many things, it’s a matter of keeping track and time management, and, of course, doing as best as I could.”
When Jayden’s head is out of the books, he can be found playing basketball, listening to music, hunting, fishing, working out, raising his goats. He is an active teenager and participates in sports such as cross county, golf, track, basketball, is a member of FFA, and an altar server for the past four years at St. Joseph Catholic Church. He volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of Alice and works at Cowboys BBQ.
Jayden is excited and nervous to graduate from CBC to start another chapter in life. He can’t wait to have his family see him walk the stage in Beeville, especially his great-grandparents, Eustorgio and Ofelia Saenz Jr., his grandparents Lisa Saenz and Leo Garcia, along with his sister and mothers.