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News & Events

EDGE Program Sparks Interest in Engineering

The EDGE summer program uses hands-on experience to spark high school students' interest in engineering. Read More >

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EDGE Program Sparks Interest in Engineering

The EDGE summer program uses hands-on experience to spark high school students' interest in engineering. Read More >

Studying Featured

GED-to-College Class Accepting New Students

The Empowerment Center is currently accepting new students for its Fall 2014 GED-to-College class. Read More >

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Bike Safety at SAC

Important reminders regarding bike safety from campus police. Read More >

Dr. Robert Vela

New President Announced

Dr. Robert Vela named 12th President of San Antonio College. Read More >

WiFi Revised Featured

SAC gets Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Alamo Colleges has continuously upgraded their wireless equipment to provide better service to staff, faculty and students. Recent upgrades have been made to San Antonio College's wireless network. Read More >

New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation

First time in college students are required to attend New Student Orientation. Read More >

More Than Just a Stay-at-Home-Mom

Until tragedy struck Irma Perales’ family, Irma believed she was just a stay-at-home-mom and didn’t believe she was capable to do much more than being a mom to her three children. Now, just over six years after that tragedy, Perales is graduating with an associate degree and the recognition of being a Distinguished Graduate.  

The Tragedy  

Irma’s daughter, Bethany, passed away after a car accident just after Christmas in 2007. The family was traveling in Amarillo on icy roads. Bethany had taken her seat belt off to make sure her little brother was secure in his car seat. It was that moment that the vehicle hit a patch of ice and lost control, ejecting Bethany from the vehicle. 

Bethany was a freshman at Baylor University where she was a pre-business major and a member of the Leadership Living Learning Center. As a member, she was required to take courses on leadership and participate in community service. According to Irma, and Baylor University News after the accident, Bethany made a huge impact during her short time at the University. So much so, the Leadership Living and Learning Center now offers a Bethany Perales Memorial Scholarship.  

Bethany had a great laugh, a drive and determination to do well, a big goal to be a good friend and succeed, says her mother. Her daughter was her twin in more ways than one. Bethany’s drive, determination and the need to help others have survived through others, and most importantly, through Irma. 

Irma said after four years of grieving, she had to stop and do something. She had to find a starting point, some direction and needed something more.  

The Dream  

She decided to find a campus she knew she would strive at. That is how she found San Antonio College. In making the decision to further her education, Irma said she was helping her family heal, because she decided to move on and carry her daughter’s dreams with her. 

Irma is now on a path to help people.  

She has been studying sociology and plans to continue on that path as well as major in psychology at Texas A&M. Her ultimate goal is to obtain a master and doctorate degree, but until then, she aspires to be a case manager or director at Haven for Hope.  

Irma said homelessness and poverty is an ongoing problem. These issues face even those that are trying their best to do something with their lives, to improve themselves. She said she believes Haven will change homelessness and she wants to help change and touch those lives the center reaches.  

Help Along the Way  

Through Irma’s time at SAC and her determination to get back to school, she has had others, beside her daughter’s influence, play into her decisions and serve as mentors. She has also made an impact on those students with whom she has come into contact. 

One of her mentors was Laura Aguilar who she said was adamant about her going back to school. “She was an instrument in guiding me,” said Irma. She wasn’t around to see Irma begin her new path though. Aguilar passed away in early 2012 after her struggle with cancer.  

Another mentor she said gave her some direction is Dean of Student Affairs Emma Mendiola. Mendiola said of Irma, she will make many contributions in her life and career. She has never been afraid of taking leadership and has a very inquisitive mind that will take her far in whatever she chooses, said Mendiola.  

“I just helped her see the reality of job opportunities,” said Mendiola, “And I can see her in many roles. I am proud of her,” Mendiola said of Irma. “She has a big heart.” 

Mona Aldana-Ramirez, vice president for Student and Academic Success, said Perales is a wonderful person.  

“She is a joy to know,” said Aldana-Ramirez. “This world is a better place because of people like Irma.” 

She oozes with confidence and intellect, “and I expect to hear great things about her accomplishments after she transfers out of San Antonio College. She is SAC Proud!” 

“Watch out world,” Ramirez said of Perales. 

The Reality  

Two years ago, this (going to SAC and graduating) seemed like an impossibility, Perales said, but everything she has been through, and now everything she has accomplished, has only made her stronger. These two women, her daughter and Aguilar, have been her driving force. 

“They’re the reason I am here.” 

The only way to honor them – her daughter, Aguilar, and her family – is to continue, Perales said. My daughter would be disappointed in me if I was not doing anything. 

“She taught me that, even in her short-lived life, that you can acquire a lot of things if you set your mind to it,” Perales said of what her daughter taught her. 

Perales has had to find that perfect balance between, home and school life. This is her new permanent reality.  

“Death is not the end. It’s the beginning,” said Perales. “I have to go forward.”

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