It was an offer Frank Sixtos couldn’t refuse.
In 1988, Frank was working as an electrician’s helper in Port Lavaca when his friend approached him with a surprising proposition.
“He said I looked like I was taking an interest in the trade,” Frank recalled. “He told me he would make a deal with me. He said he would pay for my schooling ,and if I passed, I wouldn’t have to pay him a penny back. I told him, ‘You’ve got a deal!’ ”
Frank enrolled at Victoria College to take electrical and HVAC night classes. Little did he know at the time that he was putting into motion a family legacy of higher education and training at VC. His wife, Minnie, later attended Victoria College and obtained certificates in early child administration and development. Their two children, Joy and Jonathan, took VC dual-credit courses as students at Yorktown High School and later attended classes at Victoria College’s Main Campus before going on to earn bachelor’s degrees.
“We always stressed the importance of education,” Minnie said. “I homeschooled Joy and Jonathan their first year, so they knew how much we valued education. While Joy would do her homework, her little brother was watching.”
Joy obtained an Associate of Science degree from Victoria College in the fall of 2006 and an Associate of Arts degree the following spring.
“I knew I wanted to go to Victoria College, so mom went through the VC catalog to help me understand the ins and outs,” Joy said. “The transition from high school to VC was quite easy. The classes were very affordable, and it was easy to commute to the campus. My friends who went away to school would come home and take summer classes at VC. They would say that VC’s courses were more difficult compared to their universities. That made me proud to attend VC, because I knew I was getting a quality education.”
Joy transferred to the University of Houston-Victoria, where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2008. She moved to Dallas, where she attended and graduated from Christ for the Nations Institute and later began pursuing her master’s degree at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. In 2012, she was offered a lucrative position at Performance Food Group in Victoria.
“But about a day or two later, Victoria College called me and wanted me to come in for an interview,” Joy said. “I had wanted to work at VC for a while as the college was so embedded in my heart. I wanted to assist students in achieving their educational goals just like VC had helped me.”
Joy was hired to work as an administrative assistant at the Victoria College KEY Center and now serves as the department’s academic advisor. The KEY Center is a grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education that supports 165 students with an academically supportive environment.
“KEY Center students come from different backgrounds – first-generation, low-income and disabled – and they all have different types of personal scenarios that are obstacles affecting graduating,” said Joy, who earned her Master of Arts in theological studies from SAGU in 2013. “In my own way, I can identify with some of the things that they’re going through. I thoroughly enjoy seeing their journey flourish and progress, and then being able to cheer them on as they graduate and transfer to either a university to further their education or to the workforce.”
Jonathan progressed so rapidly academically during his elementary and middle school years that he was found to be reading at the 12th-grade level as a sixth-grader.
“That may have seemed good at the time, but he wasn’t there socially,” said Minnie. “I wanted him to enjoy his childhood.”
“I always just wanted to learn something new,” Jonathan said. “The teachers wanted to push me and stretch my boundaries. But I was only 11 years old. I didn’t need to be reading Charles Dickens at the time. Shakespeare, maybe, but not Dickens.”
Jonathan had accumulated 30 college-credit hours by the time he graduated from Yorktown High School in 2008. He immediately enrolled at Victoria College, where he made a seamless transition.
“I really involved myself in campus life,” Jonathan said. “I was Student Government Association president, and I worked two years at the Student Center, so if something was going on, I was around. If free food was around, I was there.”
Jonathan transferred to Texas State University and found that Victoria College had prepared him more than enough for the university experience.
“The quality of instructors that I had and the coursework was on par with what I encountered at Texas State,” Jonathan said. “I didn’t miss a beat at all at Texas State.”
Jonathan graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in psychology in 2012.
“I was offered a job at Victoria ISD the week before I graduated,” Jonathan said. “It was a great relief walking on the stage knowing I already had a job.”
Jonathan began teaching English at Victoria East High School. In 2016, he was named VISD’s Teacher of the Year and was a semifinalist for the Texas Teacher of the Year Award.
“I just want to continue to be an advocate for education and continue seeing what’s out there for the kids,” Jonathan said. “VISD has been very supportive about that. I’m very thankful to be where I am.”
Joy and Jonathan are also both ordained ministers and very active in their church, serving as leaders, speaking at conferences and educating others in religious studies, also encouraging others to pursue their education at VC.
“I was hoping my daughter and son wouldn’t turn out like me,” said Frank, who dropped out of high school before gaining support of extended family and getting his high school diploma. “They’ve turned out so good. It feels like I’m in a dream.”
“We knew they were both going to succeed, but I don’t know if it was a dream,” said Minnie, who retired after a career at the Head Start Program in Yorktown and is now working as a library assistant for the Yorktown Public Library while pursuing a Business Management Certificate at Victoria College. “It was more of a process.”
The entire Sixtos family remains thankful to Victoria College and the impact it has made on them and the community.
“I think that Victoria College raises the quality of life in the region,” Jonathan said. “I think that VC will continue to adapt to the needs of the community. Victoria College offers what you need for the rest of your life, not just what you need after high school.”
“I thank God for Victoria College,” said Frank, who is now retired. “It gave me and my family the knowledge to succeed.”