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Harlingen Cotton Committee Awards First Bale Scholarships to Harlingen Welding Students

Welding student uses the skills they're learning and how they're using their scholarship.
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January 22, 2021

Harlingen Cotton Committee Awards First Bale Scholarships to Students at Southern Careers Institute’s Harlingen Campus

$10,000 in scholarships will benefit students in SCI’s welding program


Southern Careers Institute students at our Harlingen campus were awarded the Harlingen Cotton Committee’s (HCC) first-bale scholarships totaling $10,000.

From left to right: Nikki Munoz, Rene Lopez, Kara Alcocer, Sam Simmons Sr., Sam Simmons Jr., Scott Hooks, Steve Krenek, Leonor Fortiscue


Harlingen, TX – This morning, 20 Southern Careers Institute (SCI) students were awarded the Harlingen Cotton Committee’s (HCC) first-bale scholarships. The scholarships, totaling $10,000, will benefit Rio Grande Valley students enrolled in the welding program at SCI’s Harlingen campus. For the past 66 years, the nation’s first bale of cotton has been harvested in the Rio Grande Valley. Monies raised from the auction of the first bale and the annual fundraising event are given as scholarships to local students pursuing higher education. This is the first year that SCI students will receive HCC scholarships.

“We are extremely grateful that the HCC has chosen SCI to receive these time-honored scholarships,” said Scott Hooks, SCI’s Harlingen Campus Director. “Despite the many adversities brought on by 2020, our students remained committed to their education. The HCC contribution will be invaluable in helping prepare our students for careers as welders in a competitive job market.”

The Harlingen Cotton Committee and the Algodón Club have collaborated for several years — with a fundraising event that features both the First Bale live auction and a silent auction — to celebrate cotton and its importance to the Rio Grande Valley economy. Due to the pandemic, this year, the groups held a blind auction in November, using mail-in bids to raise the scholarship funds. Agrichemical company BASF purchased the first bale for $7,000 and an additional $3,000 was raised through the fundraising efforts of the committee.

“In deciding where to award the scholarships, we look at programs that are increasing educational attainment, training the workforce, and supporting our biggest industries in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Sam Simmons Jr., HCC President. “Southern Careers Institute’s welding program fit the bill and we are happy to support their efforts.”

To be eligible for the scholarships, students must be entering the second, third, or fourth module of SCI’s welding program. HCC will choose the final recipients, considering academic and financial standing. SCI Harlingen will hold a ceremony on January 22 to award the scholarships.

SCI’s welding program can be completed in as little as seven months, and the job placement rate for Harlingen graduates was 88.78 percent for the 2019-2020 term. Students practice their skills in a hands-on environment and learn subjects like safety, machine operation, blueprint reading, fusion and fabrication, and welding techniques, in preparation for work in a variety of related careers. SCI has three campuses in the Rio Grande Valley – Harlingen, Pharr, and Brownsville – where students can train for careers in the medical, technology, beauty, and business fields, and in skilled trades.


About Southern Careers Institute

Southern Careers Institute began serving Texas students in 1960. They offer a diverse list of programs that create employment-ready students who can go on to serve their community. With eight convenient locations in Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, San Antonio NW Loop 410, San Antonio SW Military Drive, and Waco, Southern Careers Institute offers programs in:

  • Business: Administrative Assistant, Business Administration, Business Accounting Specialist
  • Beauty: Cosmetology Operator
  • Medical: Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Coding, Medical Office Specialist, Nurse Aide, Pharmacy Technician
  • Technology: Computer Support Specialist, Software Development, Data Science, Cyber Security
  • Trades: Automotive Service Technician, Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator, Electrical Technician, HVAC, Welding

SCI also offers an online and hybrid curriculum. 

This article was published on: 01/25/21 11:02 AM

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