The school year 2019-2020, Carter welcomed 376 students alongside three transfer students from other Early Colleges in La Joya ISD, for more opportunities and advantages.

Joshua Cordonnier and Frida Beltran transferred over from Thelma Salinas STEM, and Valeria Lucio, a former student, returned from La Joya Early College.

Lucio transferred because La Joya Early College was not giving her the attention she needed, and they did not focus on her graduation plan, but Cordonnier moved for more diverse classes and opportunities.

“Jimmy offers different classes that STEM doesn’t have like Criminal Justice and Speech,” said Cordonnier.

According to these students, their previous Early Colleges lacked class options and attention on the students, but both students have different views on the associate degrees available. 

Carter does not offer an associate degree for Joshua Cordonnier’s field of study, but it does for Valeria’s. Carter offers 5-degree plans, STEM provides five as well, and La Joya Early only has one available.

Just like Carter offers all these Associates compared to the other Early Colleges, they also focus on the student’s career and graduation plans with staff that is frequently involved and concentrate on that the students complete the classes needed to graduate with these Associates.

Valeria believes that the staff at Carter is great and that one of the benefits of being at Carter is the teachers because of the involvement with the students.

“I think the fact that Carter is a small school makes it easier for staff to focus on a person and their needs. I feel like I get more attention and more help,” said Lucio. 

However, she did have a different view about her previous early college,“…the environment was just not what I wanted or what I needed,” said Lucio.

Carter’s new students had positive reactions to the environment at school and liked the experience they’ve had so far. According to Valeria and Joshua, the people at Carter seem friendly and welcoming. These students plan on staying at Carter for the upcoming years based off of their experiences.





Itza Dayanara Rodriguez is a sixteen year old born on June 18, 2003 at the Mission Regional Hospital. She considers her upbringing more influenced by her Mexican roots rather than her American ones. At a very young age she was interested in dance and everything related to it, so at the age of three, her parents decided to enroll her in ballet and gymnastics lessons. Since her family was constantly financially struggling at the time, her parents had to take her out of her dance lessons, but made her attend head start a few months later. By the time Itza entered Patricio Perez Elementary she was pretty fluent in spanish so she was moved to an all English class, in which she had to learn the basics of English in just two days in order to start first grade. In the second grade, her parents had become financially stable and Itza moved into a new home. At the age of ten, she experienced the first death of a loved one. Her grandfather passed away the day she went to visit him and she griefed his death for a really long time. It changed her view on what it means to be alive and gave her the inspiration for her future career. Itza attended Ann Richards Middle School, during the sixth grade she was interested in playing the cello but starting seventh she decided to follow her passion for dance and join the drill team. Throughout middle school she was in various UIL activities and in one particular competition held at Jimmy Carter made her interested in going to the early college. Being at Jimmy Carter Early College made a future college education more accessible and allowed her to start her career path early. Freshman year became a new experience for Itza since she began taking college classes, and these were way more rigorous than any of her previous classes. After a year of dealing with phobic anxiety problems she turned to playing the guitar and used music as a way to calm herself during panic attacks. Using dance and music to distract her she was able to control the panic attacks. The first semester of sophomore year went by pretty rough for her but the second semester was much worse. In the second semester she started struggling with her body image and just wanting to fit into the stereotypes built by society and that created a lot of stress. College classes had become more demanding towards the end of the year and her stress wasn't getting any better. To top it all off around this time she separated from her life long best friend over some dumb highschool drama. Now starting junior year Itza wants to focus on loving herself and doing well academically. She plans to raise her college and highschool GPA before the year finishes and get high performing scores in her ACT’s in order to apply for her dream college. She wants to study in a korean university abroad, Seoul National University the number one medical school in that country. All while learning the culture and meeting new and different people to expand her view on the world. Itza wants to obtain a masters in Pediatric Oncology and move back to the valley to build a clinic for cancer patients focusing on kids, she decided to pursue this career due to her grandfather's lung cancer. The clinic will help cure immigrant kids who otherwise would have to seperate from their parents in order to be treated at a hospital upstate or in Mexico. Itza also wants to better herself as a person and become more confident in how she looks and is. She wants to be able to raise her self esteem without relying on anyone else's opinion or approval to accept herself. There is definitely many goals that she wishes to accomplish but feels that it is never clear where life will be taking her, but she hopes that with her hard work she is able to achieve her dreams.

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