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Vocational school may close because of drop in enrollment

By Carolina Astrain
May 30, 2014 at 12:30 a.m.
Updated May 31, 2014 at 12:31 a.m.

Welding student Mary Lugo, 23, said she was dismayed when she heard Texas Vocational Schools may be permanently closing.

Texas Vocational Schools could close permanently unless it can raise $150,000 during the next two weeks, said owner Estella Boone.

"I'm trying to come up with the money," said Boone, who took over after her husband, the school founder, died earlier this year. "If I don't have students there, we don't get paid; that's the problem."

The school was started 47 years ago by the late Henry Edward Boone, who worked as a welder before opening the school, his widow said.

The campus, which offers a nine-month welding certification program, will be missed by Mary Lugo - a single mother of two who wants to become a welder.

She has three months left before completing the program.

"Welding is my passion," Lugo, 23, said. "It's what I want to do."

Lugo learned the campus would be closing Thursday, the last day of instruction.

"I literally cried when I left the building yesterday," Lugo said. "One of my teachers stopped me and said, 'Mary, find a way to keep going.'"

Victoria College started offering a non-credit welding program in Gonzales and at the Liberty Street location in Victoria this spring, said Jennifer Yancey, VC vice president of college advancement and external affairs.

"Any student near the completion of their certificate should contact the college through the Workforce and Continuing Education department," Yancey said.

Lugo said that while she would consider attending Victoria College, she hopes the vocational campus is able to raise enough money to remain open.



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