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VC students look forward to staying together

By Carolina Astrain
May 7, 2014 at 12:07 a.m.

Victoria College students and childhood friends, from left, Anthony Santillan, 19; Jake Smiley, 20; Jake Delagarza, 20; and Karsen Klimitchek, 20, hang out together at the Victoria College Sports Center between classes. The four will  start instrumentation work-related jobs at Turner Industries Group after graduating from Victoria College on Saturday.

IF YOU GO

• WHAT: Victoria College Spring 2014 commencement

• WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday

• WHERE: VISD Fine Arts Center, 1002 Sam Houston Drive

• COST: Free but seating is limited

They've gone to high school together, taken all the same college courses together, and come Monday, they'll be starting at the same company together.

The gang of four - Karsen Klimitchek, Jake Delagarza, Jake Smiley and Anthony Santillan - will walk across the graduation stage Saturday at Victoria College's 89th commencement ceremony.

The former Industrial High School students killed time in between classes recently at the Victoria College Sports Center by playing pingpong.

"We all got close playing football," said Smiley, 20, a former linebacker for the Industrial Cobras. "We've been like a brotherhood ever since."

It was during a high school lunch break when they decided to apply for Victoria College's associate of applied science degree in instrumentation.

"Karsen's father went to college for the same thing, and we just kind of started talking about it and thought it'd be a good idea," Santillan, 19, said.

Missy Klimitchek, Victoria College registrar and mother to Karsen Klimitchek, said all four took the exact same courses each semester.

"I kept telling them that with an instrumentation degree they would be able to start a family and support themselves afterward," she said. "You can make up to $45,000 a year; all it takes is two years."

Delagarza, the comedian of the group, said his friends kept him from skipping class while studying at VC.

The temptations of fishing and hunting, which all four love, were hard to resist, said Delagarza.

"It becomes a challenge when you have such large breaks between classes and when you live 30 to 40 minutes away," Delagarza said. "So we had to find stuff to do in between."

On Monday, all four will begin working in electronics and instrumentation at Turner Industries Group in Point Comfort, a contractor for Formosa Plastics.

"We worked on all our homework together, took every class together and now, we'll all be working together," Klimitchek said. "I like it a lot."

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