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Student thrives at NCTC thanks to scholarships

by Elizabeth F. Dieter | Aug 11, 2016 <p> </p>

Ask Noel Rodriguez where or how he would be able to attend college just one year ago and the answer would have been shrugged shoulders and confusion.

Now, the 2015 Muenster High School graduate is finishing up his third semester at North Central Texas College and pursuing an Associate of Arts degree, which he wants to use to finish his Bachelors degree and become a Spanish Teacher.

Rodriguez and his family, like many others, struggled with how they would pay for college and then Noel discovered the scholarships available at NCTC.

"Looking at tuition costs and loans was overwhelming," said Rodriguez. "When I came to NCTC and learned about the scholarships available, college didn't seem like such an unreachable goal anymore."

Funds from the Parker/Jones Scholarship, Mary Josephine Cox Scholarship, and the Dave Alexander Scholarship have helped Rodriguez to alleviate some of the financial strain.

"It's nice not to worry as much about paying for classes," said Rodriguez. "Now I can really focus on being a better student. I'll never be able to thank the scholarship donors enough. They will never truly know how much they help students like me."

Rodriguez has put his time at NCTC to good use serving other students as a Resident Advisor in the dorms. He also served as Treasurer of the Residence Hall Association, Vice President of the Campus Activities Board, and has been a volunteer for Student Life.

Not only is Rodriguez in the Honors College, but he also sings in the choir at NCTC.

A first generation student, Rodriguez is also in the TRiO program, which provides students with career guidance, tutoring, workshops and cultural enrichment.

"By participating in everything you can and reaching out to other students, college can become so much more than just a place to learn," said Rodriguez. "You're involved in a bigger community, almost like a family."

Rodriguez's dream is to one-day start an organization that will help other Latino students attend college. He said his first goal would be to increase the number of Latino enrollments by providing them with extra resources and help through the registration process.

"I want these opportunities that I've had to be available to more students," said Rodriguez. "I believe everyone is entitled to an education."

Rodriguez said none of this would be possible without the support of his parents. "I have to give a huge thank you to my parents," said Rodriguez. "They sacrificed so much for me to have a better life than they had and I'm so grateful."

Noel Rodriguez

Photo: Noel Rodriguez, a graduate of Muenster High School and NCTC Honors Student, has thrived in his time at NCTC thanks to scholarships and the support of his parents.