After being Flour Bluff High School’s NJROTC Senior Naval Science Instructor for 24 years and retiring in 2017, Armando Solis is not ready to slow down yet.
The retired Naval officer of 22 years has begun attending Del Mar College shortly after retirement. Solis wanted to explore something more than what he was affixed to back when he was in the military.
“Del Mar afforded me opportunity to really kind of expand my horizons into other areas that I never had the opportunity to really explore,” Solis said.
When Solis was in the military, he focused mainly on mathematical and technological-oriented fields that included positioning material and deciding what route was quickest to import those materials to ships.
Solis attended St. Edward’s University in Austin in 1971 and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree Magna Cum Laude in Mathematics. Afterwards, the Navy sent him to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, to later obtain a master’s degree in Operations Research/Systems Analysis in 1982.
His first approach to Del Mar college was the Automotive Technology program, where he learned the requirements of basic car maintenance and explored how to fix cars.
In his later approach, which is currently the Fine Arts Department, he wanted to learn the aspects of good photography and film.
Solis stated that he prefers to keep his mind engaged as he progresses in his retirement. He believes that longevity in life is keeping your body and mind occupied.
“It really is just a continuation of the learning process for me.” Solis said, “I’ve always liked learning new things.”
As a 74-year-old nontraditional student, Solis does have a struggle maintaining outside time and scheduling his courses around that.
He recently volunteered to coach the Flour Bluff High School’s NJROTC unarmed drill team, the Sea Hawks, once again. He stated that he missed his experiences and connections he had coaching the team back before retiring as the SNSI.
The impact he had on the Sea Hawks has led them to winning Texas state Navy championships, Demilitarized and Unarmed Division titles at the National High School Drill Team Championships, and getting featured in the National Military Drill Hall of Fame.
Solis stated that he wanted to offer advice for his fellow Del Mar College students. He also stated that education is a critical aspect for getting a job in the outside world.
The next step for many of these students is getting a job that pays well and is fulfilling.
“Education doesn’t necessarily equate to getting a diploma or getting a degree.” Solis said. “Education can be a vocational certificate: learning how to fix cars, learning how to weld. Anything you can use for yourself to make you employable.”