by Ricky Diaz
Greg Pasztor was born in Washington, D.C. After spending the third through seventh grades in Germany, he moved to Virginia, where he finished middle school and graduated from high school.
After high school, Pasztor attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh with a communications degree.
Once college was behind him, Pasztor moved to the West Texas town of Odessa, where he began working in the oil field. Pasztor started from the bottom in the oil field business, as a rough neck, and he worked his way up from position to position. Eventually, Pasztor found himself wiring explosives for the oil company, Halliburton.
At the end of his oil career, Greg was hired at the television station, KMID in Midland, Texas working as floor crew duties, then moving up to directing and audio technician. The stint at KMID proved to be successful, as it opened doors for Pasztor. He worked for KMOL in San Antonio, then over to KENS in the same city.
Working experience helped Pasztor move from local stations in San Antonio, to the national network, Columbia Broadcasting System, working as a field producer for six years. At CBS, Pasztor worked several elections, filming and directing, as well as multiple natural disasters.
Greg Pasztor received his Master’s degree in Communications and began teaching at Palo Alto College shortly after.
Pasztor is married and has a daughter in high school. His hobbies include shooting and editing video, birding and camping. He is currently president of The Bexar Audubon Society and he is on the board of directors for The Rock Art Foundation.
by Hilda S. Valdez
Palo Alto student Luis Padron is in his first semester of college. The former South San Antonio High School student is currently undecided about his major, but he is working on completing his core classes. Once he is done with those, he plans on making a final decision about his major. He does have an interest in Palo Alto’s Vet Tech program.
Luis has his hobby to thank for his interest in Vet Tech. He raises chickens. He became interested in raising chickens when his tenth grade high school class hatched a pet chicken using an incubator. That class experiment inspired him to go out and learn about raising chickens. He also received additional inspiration from his aunt, who also raised chickens.
“I want to be a rancher,” said Padron, who talked about the possibly of obtaining other animals in the near future.
Luis started off with one chicken, but over the past two years his flock has slowly grown to nineteen. Most of his chickens he has are offspring of his original hen and rooster. Now Luis has two roosters and seventeen hens. He has a name for each one, and he can easily describe each of their personalities. The chickens are not just raised as pets. They produce eggs, up to one a day, which Luis and his family use.
The chickens are kept in the coop near Luis’ house and are usually safe in their urban habitat. Unfortunately, the chickens still have some enemies. Harsh weather conditions are a great threat to the chickens, but a close second are the neighborhood dogs and cats. Luis has lost a few chickens to neighborhood pets that wander into his yard and help themselves to his chickens.
Luis looks forward to getting through college and expanding his flock.
“I plan to do this for a long time,” said Padron. He hopes to one day own enough land to raise chickens and horses. Photo caption: Luis spends most of his free time caring for his chickens.
by Paul Ramos
“The greatest lesson I’ve learned in college is to think for myself,” said Cody Wilson, a Psychology major at Palo Alto College.
Wilson did not start off as a Psychology major. Wilson began his college career as many students do: undecided. It wasn’t until he started taking classes in Philosophy that he realized his true passion.
“Dr. Haecker makes me think and opens my eyes to ideas that I never thought of,” said Wilson.
Wilson said he loves Palo Alto’s campus and how the classes are small and intimate. Wilson also said that he enjoys how available the professors are to the students.
“No matter what the problem is, there is always a professor willing to lend a helping hand,” said Wilson.
In his spare time, Wilson loves to read books, preferably Fantasy Adventure. He also likes to spend time with friends and just hang out.
After Palo Alto, Wilson plans to attend UTSA. His dream job after college would be a counselor.
“People are always going to need help, and I want to help them as much as I can,” said Wilson.
Brandee Lynn Garza
Brandee Lynn Garza is a sophomore Education major at Palo Alto College. Garza’s enrollment at PAC is her first step to achieving her goal of becoming a teacher.
“I want to teach because students deserve a teacher who really cares about them and wants them to do their best,” she said. “I love working with students and kids and being a part of their lives.”
Garza graduated from McCollum High School in 2010. One of her goals is to graduate from Palo Alto and transfer to the University of Texas-San Antonio.
In addition to taking classes, Garza also works full time and raises her 1-year-old daughter. While this may deter some students from continuing their education, Garza remains determined to finish.
“Motivation is key,” said Garza. “That’s the only thing that keeps me going and makes it possible to balance my lifestyle.”
She believes life requires a considerable amount of both mental and physical effort. She also sees happiness as an important part of her life. Garza also hopes to give back to the community.
“I honestly can’t see myself doing anything else with my life, other than teaching,” said Garza.
Garza hopes to teach at an elementary school on the South Side of San Antonio.
by Laura de Leon
Roberto Castellanos is very active at Palo Alto College, and he is a full-time student who also works on campus.
Castellanos is pursuing an associate’s degree in Veterinary Technology, and he is currently taking his core courses, including Math, Biology and English. He plans to begin specific Vet Tech courses in the fall.
“I eventually want to be a veterinarian, but I want to have a job in the field before I start veterinarian school,” said Castellanos.
When he is not in classes, you can find Castellanos walking around campus helping people and opening doors for faculty and staff. Working as a courtesy patrol, he is there to aid everybody on campus.
“I don’t have to be stuck in a office,” said Castellanos. He said that he enjoys his job and likes helping people. Since Castellanos is always on campus he said he is always prepared for a long day, and he brings his lunch from home.
When not at school, Castellanos said he spends his time playing sports and fixing computers. His favorite sports include soccer and paintball. Castellanos said that he grew up in Mexico, and they would always play soccer, even barefooted. So soccer has become one of his favorite pastimes. When fixing computers, he explained that he and his friends figure out how to eliminate bugs and hacks, then write scripts to fix programs.
Castellanos said that he really likes Palo Alto College.
“It’s really a nice school to come learn and work,” said Castellanos. “The staff and teachers are really nice.”
by Lillian Ross
Lavelle Lira, an unlikely lady in campus housekeeping, is a recipient of a pre-nursing associate’s degree from St. Philip’s College.
Lira was born and raised on the South Side of San Antonio. She graduated from McCollum High School and continued her education in the Alamo Colleges.
As she worked toward her degree, she was employed in a doctor’s office and was disturbed by what she learned while working there. Her disappointment occurred when she realized that the medical field was all about the business and not about the patients. Through her eye-opening experience, she resigned from nursing.
Lira then cared for her parents until their passing. She was a single mother, looking for employment, when brother let her know that Palo Alto College was hiring in housekeeping. Her career has lasted eight years at PAC. She enjoys working in the maintenance department, and she was recently named Employee of the Month.
Lira says, “This job is not what I studied for, but it is definitely where I am most happy.”
When the Viva Verde Recycling Program was launched here at PAC three years ago, Lira decided to get involved. She has helped with the recycling in every building she works in. Lira is an avid recycler, even in her own home.
"I really like being able to teach my grandson about recycling. It is important to do it properly," said Lira.