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Jonathan Ricado always wanted to be a teacher, and Brookhaven College was the first step in realizing his dream. He graduated with his associate degree in 2010 and transferred to University of North Texas. His transition to a four-year institution was a smooth one because he feels he was well prepared.
“Attending Brookhaven College allowed me to pursue the career I wanted. It was an amazing opportunity to transform my life, and now I have the opportunity to transform the lives of other students. They can achieve any goals if they work hard for them,” he said.
Ricado came to the U.S. when he was 15 years old and after graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School, he wasn’t sure what to do. His high school ESL teacher, Sergio Soriano, who also attended Brookhaven, recommended the school.
“I am a first generation college graduate and my parents didn’t know anything about the process for applying to college,” he said. “I did it all very last minute.”
He started the application process in July and began classes in August 2008.
“Brookhaven was a great experience for me especially since I did not know what to expect at the beginning,” he said. “But I was involved at the college from the very first moment.”
Because he participated in extracurricular activities, he said he spent more time on campus and got to know other students better.
He joined the Student Government Association and Hispanic Heritage Club, and started the Latin Dance Club with some other friends. But the organization that really stands out for him is the Leadership Institute.
“I went to every workshop they held. It was a great experience and excellent preparation for any career,” he said.
Ricado may have been the first in his family to attend college, but his younger sister took note of the example he set. She also attended Brookhaven College and went on to study occupational therapy at TWU.
As a teacher, he promotes the value of education to all of his students and former students. He believes Brookhaven provides many opportunities for any students, “and they don’t have to be a traditional student to be successful.”
Ricado is a fifth grade bilingual teacher at F. P. Caillet Elementary School in Dallas. He has a 7-year-old daughter starting second grade at Caillet in the fall.