PHOTO GALLERY — Port Arthur’s aspiring students paired with influential businesspeople, education stressed

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Memorial High School seniors Victoria Nguyen and Eduardo Ceja had an opportunity Tuesday to sit down and talk with professionals in their chosen career fields.

Nguyen is looking toward a career as an engineer, while Ceja is looking at being an architect. They were paired up at a table sponsored by Soutex Surveyors and Engineers during the Port Arthur Education Foundation Pathway to Success Luncheon at the Carl Parker Multipurpose Center.

Nguyen said it was a nice opportunity to meet people she wouldn’t normally get to for one-on-one conversations.

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Ceja said it is reassuring for him to see someone with the future he wants.

Fellow senior Jacob Garza was seated at the Valero-sponsored table and was able to get a few resume and career pointers to help as he works toward a process-operator degree.

The Parker Center was filled with more than 440 people who bought tickets to the luncheon while supporting the education foundation.

Keynote speakers Port Arthur Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Porterie, State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) and Lamar State College Port Arthur President Dr. Betty Reynard noted the importance of education during their time at the podium.

Porterie told of the grim news from the war in the Ukraine and of how citizens of the United States should be thankful for their freedoms.

But being educated is critical to being free, he said.

“Unless you know how to read, unless you know how to write, unless you can comprehend, you will not remain a free country unless we start taking education seriously,” Porterie said, adding the knowledge to read and write is imperative to making one’s own decisions.

“With an education you can move mountains, you can do whatever you want to do and that is what we need to tell our children every day.”

He said an individual is imprisoned without an education.

“And it doesn’t matter what color you are, it doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are, if you’re male, female, you need to be educated and that is what we need to tell our children every day,” he said.

Creighton spoke of the challenges the state faced from last year’s winter storm Uri, the stress on the electrical grid and how Texans handled the challenge.

He was recently called to the Lt. Governor’s office, where he was appointed to chair the Education Committee while staying chair of the Higher Education Committee.

The senator was presented with an award during the luncheon for his leadership and support of higher education.

The mission of the education foundation is to enhance academic excellence in Port Arthur public schools by supporting innovative educational projects, according to information from the foundation.