More than 40 graduates received certificates and associate degrees during the fall commencement at Texas State Technical College in Red Oak.

The ceremony was held Monday, Dec. 17 at the Waxahachie Civic Center.

When David Sotelo, 41, of Waxahachie, enrolled in 2014 and was the first student to do so at TSTC in North Texas. Now, he can call himself a college graduate.

Sotelo earned the associate's of applied science in industrial maintenance with an emphasis on electrical specialization. He took classes around his work schedule and also took a semester off before taking a mathematics class this fall to finish the degree.

"I'm very happy and excited," he said. "I didn't think this day would come."

He said the degree will help him in his maintenance job at Owens Corning in Waxahachie.

"It changed my life drastically going to this college," Sotelo said.

Several other graduates already have jobs.

Peyton Allen, 20, of Palmer, received an associate's of applied science in diesel equipment technology. He chose to pursue the degree field because he grew up working on trucks and farming equipment.

He will begin work in the upcoming days in the diesel shop at Dart Container Corp. in Waxahachie.

"I am ready to make money," Allen said.

Ethan Owen, 22, of Red Oak, received a certificate in industrial maintenance with an emphasis on electrical specialization. He chose the major because he grew up working on a farm.

Owen did an internship this fall at LafargeHolcim in Midlothian and was recently hired to work full time doing mechanical maintenance.

"I'm ready to start my life," said Owen.

TSTC has more than 900 students graduating this fall across the state. For more information, visit tstc.edu.