Knowledge is Power
McMurry University and Lydia Patterson Institute are as natural a combination as ice cream and cake for graduates of both schools. Jazmin Elias-Sanchez and Fernando Bejarano have enough workplace experience to vouch for the quality of both schools and to tout the relationship.“If you were to ask any of the McMurry professors that had Lydia Patterson graduates as students,” Bejarano, a 2008 graduate, said, “I am sure they would consider us dedicated and prepared.” Ditto for Elias-Sanchez, a 2010 McMurry graduate with a degree in early childhood and bilingual education. She has been so successful that family members are now urging a nephew to take the same path.
“They want him to follow in my steps,” she said.
Lydia Patterson Institute, named for its founder, opened in 1913 in El Paso. It was one of the first schools in the United States to emphasize teaching English as a Second Language. Today, the United Methodist institution serves about 400 youths annually, most of whom cross the border from Juarez to attend classes.
They love it so much that not even the terrorist attacks of 2001 kept students from making the daily crossing, despite delays due to increased security. Elias-Sanchez was a middle school student at Lydia Patterson in 2001 and remembers the struggle of continuing her education. “It was a challenge,” she said, “but, like many other students, I overcame.”
Elias-Sanchez and Bejarano both persevered in getting their education at Lydia Patterson and McMurry and now, both are well on their way to successful careers. Elias-Sanchez is starting a new job in Houston after working at a Snyder school since graduating.Currently, Bejarano is in training at a Honeywell facility in York, Pennsylvania, and will work for that international company in Juarez when he finishes. Both students cited the emphasis on hard work that they learned at Lydia Patterson for their eventual success at McMurry and in the workplace. And, they both realized after their first visits to McMurry that the Abilene campus was the place for them. The connection between the schools seemed like a natural “next step.”“It was just like going from one family to another," Elias-Sanchez said.