I've met a lot of people in my life who wanted what was best for me. They told me
what I needed and how I needed to go about achieving what I needed, yet no one could
really help me the way Marithess Rico could. Many teachers, counselors, and program
directors were good at telling me what to do, but there came a point where I needed to
hear more than the instructions on how to be the perfect scholar, and that's where Ms.
Rico came in.
To her, I could feel that I wasn't just another faceless student who she needed to
push through. I could tell her care for each student was genuine and heartfelt, and that
she specifically seen me as a person, as oppose to another faceless student or task to
mark off of her to-do list.
Everyone was always telling me what to do, and it was such a relief for an adult
to ask what they could do for me. It was so easy to feel silenced and invisible
throughout high school, and I didn't realize how much I needed to be heard until
Ms. Rico gave me her time. Whether it was on the phone or after school, Ms. Rico was
there for me--to hear my thoughts, concerns, and even my dreams and aspirations. I
could tell her what I wanted or needed, and she would let me know exactly how to
achieve it all. I got more from her than a list of scholarly commands, but I got advice on
how to go about school, how I could use my knowledge to my best advantage, and new
perspectives regarding discipline and hard work that motivated me in ways I haven't felt
This is what I had been lacking all along. And even with all of her kindness, there
was still a strictness and tough love that she gave that kept me in line. With Ms. Rico I
was never allowed to slack off, but she never allowed me to over-work myself either.
Writing this has actually helped me realize how well-rounded of an adult Ms. Rico
has taught me to be. That is to say, our past discussions have never left my heart and I
still apply her advice to many current situations today.
I thank Ms. Rico for seeing me as an individual and for providing me the proper
help I needed at any time. She was much more than a facilitator, but a role model and
confidant as well. I know for a fact that I would not have succeeded with high school or
the college component the way I did if it wasn't for her presence.
Needless to say, I could only be honored to help Ms. Rico even half as much as
she has helped me in the past.