San Jacinto College named a top 5 community college in the nation

San Jacinto College was named a national top 5 community college as a Finalist with Distinction by the Aspen Institute on May 18 at its 2021 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence virtual award ceremony. 

The Aspen top 10 community colleges for 2021 are Amarillo College (Texas), Broward College (Florida), Borough of Manhattan Community College (New York), Odessa College (Texas), Pasadena City College (California), Pierce College (Washington), San Antonio College (Texas), San Jacinto College (Texas), Tallahassee Community College (Florida), and West Kentucky Community and Technical College (Kentucky). Amarillo College was named the 2021 Rising Star, and San Antonio College was named this year’s Aspen Prize winner.  

Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer thanked employees for their contributions and commitment to providing continued support for student success. 

“This recognition is for our people, and it’s a recognition of our people — our faculty, staff, administrators, Board of Trustees, students, and community,” said Dr. Hellyer. “Our community believes in us, and they see the impact we make because of the work of each of our employees and the commitment throughout the entire organization. I’m so proud to be a part of

San Jac Athletics gives strong showing at national tournaments

Photo by Eric Castanos

The San Jacinto College baseball and softball teams competed in their respective National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournaments after super regional and regional tournament wins in May.

The softball team completed the 2021 season with a third-place finish at the NJCAA national tournament in Yuma, Ariz.

San Jac softball finished the season 43-10 overall after winning the Region XIV tournament. The third-place national finish is the highest ever in school history (five appearances).

“I am extremely proud of our entire team,” said Head Coach Kelly Saenz. “These girls put everything they had into this season, facing some talented teams, to finish as one of the top three at the national tournament. I appreciate their dedication and work ethic throughout the entire season and applaud them on a job well done.”

Sophomore Audrey Garcia was named to the all-tournament team, and sophomore Alexis Uresti was named to the NJCAA Division I Midwest Region First Team.

The baseball team ended its 2021 season third at the Alpine Bank Junior College (JUCO) World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.

San Jac finished the season 51-15 overall, including a Region XIV tournament victory. The team’s JUCO World Series appearance is the 27th in program history.

“I am extremely proud of what this team has accomplished: third place in the nation,” said Head Coach Tom Arrington. “They were a team that faced many adversities but remained diligent in the work ethic and support of one another. Win or lose, they will always be a championship team.”

Infielder Sabin Ceballos was presented the Jay Tolman Outstanding Defensive Player Award for the tournament. Ceballos, outfielder Mason Auer, and catcher Chase Adkinson were named to the all-tournament team. 

San Jac offers 2021 high school grads free tuition

San Jacinto College has launched a special one-time opportunity scholarship program just for the district’s graduating high school class of 2021.

High school students who graduated in December 2020 or May 2021 from Channelview, Deer Park, Galena Park, LaPorte, Pasadena, and Sheldon independent school districts are eligible for free tuition for up to three years at San Jac thanks to the 21Forward Scholarship.

This opportunity is made possible by a $30 million gift to the College by philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett — the largest private gift in the College’s history. Scott and Jewett donated more than $2.7 billion to 286 organizations throughout the country, which includes two- and four-year institutions that successfully educate students from chronically underserved communities. 

The 21Forward Scholarship was developed in response to the challenges COVID-19 caused for families in the community. The three-year scholarship allows students to attend full or part time. 

Eligibility requirements include graduating from a high school within the College’s taxing district (listed above) during the 2020-2021 academic year, enrolling in classes for the fall 2021 semester, applying for financial aid, and living in the College’s taxing district upon their high school graduation. Homeschool, private school, and GED graduates are also eligible. 

For more information about the 21Forward Scholarship, visit