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Student Success at RSC Northern

Our students come from all walks of life, and have many personal stories to tell. Here are a few of the stories from students at Rio Salado College Northern. These stories are inspiring, just like the students themselves, and showcase how people can use education to open doors to a better future.


Belinda Alvarado
Belinda came to Rio Salado in June of 2012 for classes to prepare her for the GED exam. Since leaving high school in the 1980s, Belinda had a wonderful family and great business as a realtor. As the economy changed, Belinda was faced with changing careers. She came to Rio Salado and joined the IBEST Dental Assisting Program where she earned her GED in November 2012. Belinda is currently working toward her Dental Assisting Certificate.


Juana Lazcano
“My name is Juana Lazcano and I am from Mexico. I am a person with a lot of responsibilities. I am a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother. I am an active church and community member and also an adult learner at Rio Salado College.

Back in my youth and in my Country, I could not finish high school as my parents were very poor. I have always wanted to study and continue my education. The first thing I did when I came to the United States of America was start studying English. Now I am also studying Theology and Religious Education.

I am a long-term, respected volunteer in my church. Volunteering changed my life! I love helping people by nature. At our church, I specialize in helping children and teenagers with different needs. My goals are to become a Religious Teacher and a Social Worker so I can professionally help more people. I also would like to represent my community in a higher level and to fight for those in need. I want to convey to the audience our expectations and needs. I want my voice to be heard.”

Juana’s English teacher writes of her: “Juana naturally earned her nickname ‘Mama Juanita’ with her kindness and caring for others. Everybody respects and loves her. Juanita came from a poor family and could not finish her education because of lack of money but all of her children have completed higher education. Now Juana works on her own education and improvement. Through adult English class, she learned to speak and write good English. It gave her confidence to volunteer.”

Juana shared about the success of a family member who also attended English class at Rio Salado: “Recently one of my sons became a restaurant manager thanks to English classes at Rio Salado College. Now he has a good salary, pays taxes and is able to help the family and the community.”


Lauren Leon
Lauren is a pregnant mother of a young son. She and her partner live without the aid of public assistance and work and provide for their young family. With all her responsibility, Lauren had 96% attendance in the four months she was in class. She was very committed to her education and passed her GED testing in December 2012. Lauren now attends online college courses while caring for her young son and is awaiting the birth of her second child in February 2013.


Rosa Carmina
Rosa Carmina, who graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications, came from Mexico to Arizona in 2002 after marrying an American. Rosa’s first year in the United States was very difficult due to the culture, language and missing her family. Once Rosa started to attend English class, she had an immediate presence with her winning personality and spirit! In fact, she became the heart and soul of the class and brought a few friends to English classes.

Rosa is full of energy and easily involves the other classmates in after class gatherings and activities. She designed a dance entry incorporating the Gangnam Style dance for the “I’m in love with Learning” 2013 and submitted a unique jewelry individual entry. Rosa leads by example. Her goals are to become a United States citizen, one day expand her current business and open a new business in the near future.


Szu-Sheng Kao
When Szu-Sheng Kao attended class for the first time, he was very quiet and avoided contact with others. With time his English improved and he became one of the class leaders and was in the center of all class activities. As a result, he was chosen as one of the first Rio Ambassadors and has already participated in a mission at the Governor’s office. His 2012 “I’m in love with Learning” designs won him the top State prize and are featured in the 2013 celebration materials. Szu-Sheng has great new entries in this year’s ALW and assisted almost everybody with their entries. I attribute his academic and social improvement to his self-determination, great involvement in class and close peer relationships. His determination serves as inspiration to classmates. He wants to learn about American culture which will enable his future participation in the community and his field of expertise.