Posted: 5/11/22

TAMIU's Julieta and Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies to Graduate 42 Friday


Frank and Julieta Farias Staggs
Frank and Julieta Farias Staggs  

A cohort of 42 students are scheduled to graduate from Texas A&M International University's (TAMIU) Julieta and Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies at a graduation ceremony Friday, May 13 at 10 a.m. at the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Dr. Patricia Uribe, Academy director and TAMIU-ISD superintendent, said she is extremely proud of the graduates.

“I am so proud of our graduates. They have completed their last two years of high school, concurrently with their first two years of University coursework and obtained many academic recognitions along the way.  TAMIU has enriched the lives of our students and provided an academic environment that supports collaborative education that will prepare them for the next chapter in their lives.  Congratulations Graduates of 2022.”

This year's Valedictorian is Fatima Rodríguez and the Salutatorian was Luz Marina Ventura Ramírez.

Rodríguez is the daughter of Guadalupe and Claudia Rodríguez. She currently has a high school GPA of 103.97 and a cumulative TAMIU GPA of 4.0. She has completed 92 semester credit hours at TAMIU. She was recognized as the Border Patrol Youth of the Month for the month of October and received the Dean’s List honor for each semester in her two years at the academy.

She is part of the TAMIU Honors Program, served as Historian and Parliamentarian for the STAGGS Academy Student Council, ran the yearbook committee, and was recently admitted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Additionally, she was accepted to the University of Portland, the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor, Long Island University, Texas A&M University at San Antonio, St. Mary’s University, and TAMIU. She has chosen to attend TAMIU this Fall and will be majoring in Biology.

Rodríguez is a recipient of the TAMIU Presidential Scholarship and is expected to graduate in December of 2023. She plans to attend medical school to obtain a medical degree and then specialize in general surgery, hopefully, returning to Laredo and giving back to her community.

Ventura Ramírez is the daughter of Jaime Ventura and Ledith Ventura.  

She currently has a high school GPA of 103.974 and a cumulative TAMIU GPA of 3.946. Ventura Ramírez has completed 73 semester credit hours at TAMIU. She was recognized as the Border Patrol Youth of the Month for the month of December, Academy Exemplary student of the year as a senior, the secretary for Student Council, and as a National Hispanic Scholar.

She was also on the TAMIU Dean’s List for the entire time she was at Staggs Academy. During her time at TAMIU, Ventura Ramírez was in the National Honor Society, the Yearbook Committee, and the TAMIU Psychology Association. She was accepted into Texas A&M International University, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas at Austin. 

She has chosen to attend UT-Austin this Fall and will be majoring in Psychology.

In the near future, Ventura Ramírez plans to attend medical school and thereafter complete her residency in psychiatry to become a board certified psychiatrist.

2022 Academy graduates are Eduardo Alfaro Vázquez,  Emily Ixchel Altgelt, Arlen Guadalupe Briones,  Sofia Lorett Cadena, Melanie Carrera, Rebecca Hailie Castro, Nicolas Cavazos, Diego Cruz, Magdalene A. Davila, Gene Félix, Sebastian  Fragoso, Mariana M. García, and Sandra P. García

Also, Kayla González, Carlos  A. Guerrero, Perla A. Hernández, Giselle Hernández, Kathryn Hipólito, Aliyah Amor Iruegas, Savannah Johnson, Michael Kazen, Montserrat Kladis, Ashlee Manrique, Hector I. Martínez, Alexandra Y. Mendoza, María Isabella Montemayor, Yadira Ovando, Maríajesus Peña, Pamela Pérez, Viviana B. Ponce, Gabriela Ramírez, Mariana Ramos, Fatima Rodríguez, Ludivina Saldívar, Roberto  Salinas, Darinna A. Sanmiguel, Andrea Valadez, Ricardo Velázquez, Luz Marina Ventura Ramírez, Gerardo  Vera Jr., Melanie M. Villarreal, and Maria M. Weikel.

The Julieta and Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies is an innovative, University-level high school located on the TAMIU campus, created by Senator Judith Zaffirini and authorized by the 79thTexas Legislature in 2005.  It opened its doors in August 2014.   The campus sits on the Texas A&M International University campus and students are fully immersed in the college going culture and take a full load of University courses their junior and senior year of high school.

About the Academy’s Namesakes

Frank Staggs, was born in July 1927 in Laredo to Frank W. and Gertrude Frizzel Staggs. His career spans teaching, insurance, coaching, ranching, refereeing and even bus driving. He studied at Texas A&M University for a short time before enlisting in the United States Armed Services. His assignment was to the U.S. Army Hospital Ship Mercy, which sailed across the Pacific Theatre of operations. After finishing his extended tour of duty in 1947, he continued his education at Texas A&I University-Kingsville, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science. He has taught in San Benito, Mirando City and Laredo and served as an assistant principal at M.B. Lamar Junior High School. When Milton Elementary School opened, he became its first principal and returned to Lamar as its principal in 1969. During that time, he began ranching with his wife, Julie’s uncle, Dr. Raúl de la Garza, at the family ranch near Oilton. Then, the Central Office came calling in 1972, and he was named Director of Special programs. Eight years later, he retired from education to pursue a career in the insurance business.

María Julieta Farías Staggs was born to Francisco F. Farías and María Julieta de la Garza Farías in July 1925. She graduated with honors from Martin High School in 1942. She studied Education and Spanish at what is now Texas State University in San Marcos. She taught school in D’Hanis, Texas one year and returned to Laredo teach at Martin High School, and then Bruni School. She met Frank Staggs in August 1951 and they were married May 28 the following year. They moved to Greely, Colorado that summer and returned to teaching in Frank’s hometown of Mirando City. She taught third grade while awaiting the birth of Frank, Jr. who was born February 1953. That summer, the Staggs returned to Colorado where Frank completed his Masters in School Administration. They welcomed their second son, Raúl C., in August 1957.

Laredo became their permanent home that fall and Julie began a 30+ year teaching career at the new M. S. Ryan Elementary where she made many lifelong friends doing what she enjoyed most: teaching. In 1987, Julie was selected to portray Martha Washington as part of Laredo’s Washington’s Birthday Celebration. Frank was her “George.” Julie was beset by Alzheimer’s in 2003 and passed in October of 2015.

The Julieta and Frank Staggs Academy of International & STEM Studies is still accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year.  Apply at https://www.tamiu.edu/coas/theacademy/Apply.shtml or call 956.326.2860.

For additional information on the Academy, call Dr. Uribe at 956.326.2860, email puribe@tamiu.edu, or click on http://www.tamiu.edu/coas/theacademy/


 Fatima Rodríguez (Valedictorian)




Luz Marina Ventura Ramírez (Salutatorian)