For the third time in her life, Clarissa Manuel is helping one of her children move into a university dorm.

The process of moving her third child, Alexis Arceneaux, into Jaguar Hall at the University of Houston-Victoria was easier than when her older daughters moved to College Station, she said.

But saying goodbye to a child as they embark on the next chapter of their life is never easy, Manuel said as she unloaded a bag of items from her car.

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“I’m ready to be there for her. Kids have their days when they’re feeling down and overwhelmed, so I’m ready to make the two-hour drive to help her back up,” the Houston resident said. “She’s going to be good though, and she’d going to do well, too.”

Thursday, families trickled in and out of Jaguar Hall at UHV as 220 freshmen moved in.

Monday is the first day of the fall semester at the university.

Brandon Lee, the director of residence life and University Commons, said 635 students are expected to move into the dorms this weekend – the highest occupation the university has seen.

“It’s exciting. The number shows the growth of the university and the increase of students goes with the vision and goal of UHV becoming a destination college,” Lee said.

Freshmen will have a three-day orientation called Jaguar Journey beginning Friday, Lee said. Students will meet with campus directors, register for classes, and participate in team-building exercises.

“For many of the freshmen students, this is their first time moving away from home and some are nervous. We do our best to create a family-like atmosphere and acclimate our students to campus life so they can have an enjoyable experience,” Lee said.

Arceneaux, of Houston, is one of the freshmen moving into the dorms. The 18-year-old plans to major in biology and plans to pursue a career as a doctor.

Arceneaux said she is excited to be in new town and make new friends. She and her roommate, who had not yet arrived Thursday morning, planned to decorate their dorm in black and yellow decorations.

“I feel good. When I helped my sisters go to college, I missed them but it wasn’t as sad. They inspired me to go to college, and I’m looking forward to classes,” Arceneaux said.

Freshman Kara Savage arrived in Victoria on Wednesday evening from Dallas. Savage, 18, will major in English. She would like to travel abroad and teach English in other countries, she said.

Savage said she chose UHV after meeting a university recruiter at Grand Prairie High School, where she graduated. She and her best friend from home will be roommates.

“It’s cool that we’re able to room together here,” Savage said. “I’m looking forward to what school here will be like and meeting new people.”

Savage is Dana McCarthy’s first child to attend college. McCarthy said she and her girlfriend, Mimi Caraway, bought school supplies and items throughout the summer to prepare for the move.

“I’m going to be sad when we leave, but she’s going to be fine. We plan to visit her when we can,” McCarthy said.

Amber Aldaco reports on education for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at or 361-580-6303.

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Education Reporter

Amber Aldaco is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She's covered various events in the Crossroads including a zoo rescue, a biker funeral and a state meeting with the governor. She enjoys singing with her significant other.

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