Award Year: 2017

Hector J. Garcia Early College High School

5241 University Boulevard
Laredo, TX, 78041-1920

(956) 273-7700

Mr. Israel Castilla, Principal at time of Nomination

Title I School, Choice School

Laredo Independent School District

School Website

School Twitter


GECHS offers underrepresented minority students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma under a rigorous curriculum, and accumulate 60 plus credits towards a bachelors degree.

Student Demographics
  • White: 1%
  • Hispanic: 98%
  • Asian: 1%
  • ELL: 6%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: 95%
Mighty Phoenix Class of 2017

Mighty Phoenix Class of 2017

Laredo ISD's Hector J. Garcia Early College High School (GECHS) is a public school with a maximum enrollment of 480 students. Its mission is to pave the way for first-generation college students, underrepresented minorities identified as at-risk and/or economically disadvantaged, to have a chance at higher education. GECHS's philosophy is to provide students a rigorous academic program focused on the mastery of content, thereby enabling them to succeed in today's universities regardless of their social or economic background.

Seven miles from the nearest LISD middle school, GECHS is strategically located on the grounds of Texas A&M International University. With an impressive 98% attendance rate, students at GECHS exhibit tremendous determination and commitment to achievement.

GECHS offers courses aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Well versed on effective instructional strategies including second language acquisition methodologies and project based learning, teachers build strong bonds with their students, personalizing instruction, and meeting their needs for academic success.

GECHS students enroll in dual-credit courses taught by TAMIU faculty, earning college credit while fulfilling high school graduation requirements. Taking courses alongside their university peers gives students opportunities to learn in a multicultural and diverse collegiate environment. Careful collaboration between both entities allows teachers to provide focused, academic, and emotional support during the school day, after school, and on Saturdays. With many students graduating from GECHS with nearly 60 college hours, graduating classes typically earn millions of dollars in scholarships to further their education and earn a college degree.