Mario Parra, a senior at South Texas ISD Health Professions (Health Professions) in Mercedes, has a deep passion for mechanics- the mechanics of cars and the mechanics of veterinary medicine.
He grew up around both areas, as his uncle has a ranch and farm animals, and his grandfather has a body shop. He spent countless hours learning both sides of work, and through pure enjoyment, fell in love with them.
As a middle school student, Parra knew he wanted to pursue veterinary studies, so he enrolled to Health Professions, specifically for the Veterinary Certification Program.
“I wanted to learn as much as I could before starting the actual program come junior year, so I took the initiative and began volunteering the summer of my freshman year at a veterinary clinic in Harlingen,” said Parra.
Parra has already exceeded the required 300 clinical hours needed to sit for the certification exam in the spring. He currently holds over 400 hours, and looks to add on 250 more as he begins clinical rotations with a school-partnered veterinary clinic in McAllen, along with his classmates. This will put Parra over 650 volunteer hours specifically related to veterinary medicine.
As a volunteer at the clinic he has sat in on multiple surgeries and blood transfusions and has learned many techniques and skills from esteemed veterinarians and nurses.
Aside from volunteering at veterinary clinics, he also volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club, community service departments with his home school district in San Benito, and with Camp Periwinkle, part of the Periwinkle Foundation. He has dedicated his summers to serving and giving back to his community, and plans to continue volunteering for the Periwinkle Foundation after graduation.
“It feels good to know you are helping, and I take great pride in that,” said Parra.
Parra looks to pursue his studies at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and aspires to become a veterinarian and own his own body shop, but until then he is thankful for the option to be back learning in the classroom, with opportunities to gain more hands-on experiences.
- Health Professions