David Rico has been selected as the Lone Star College-North Harris winner of the annual Chancellor’s Essay Contest. Rico was one of six Lone Star College System students selected for the award and a $1,000 scholarship. During the 22nd annual Lone Star College Foundation Chancellor’s Breakfast on Jan. 27, Rico presented his essay on how a Lone Star College education changed his life.
Rico currently attends Lone Star College-North Harris, where he is majoring in English. He now boasts that he is a “proud Lone Star College student.” Those words may have never come out of Rico’s mouth if it hadn’t have been for a little push, and a then a big shove in the right direction.
Thinking that he could not further his education after not passing a required math test to get his high school diploma, Rico started to lose hope. That is, until one day he had encountered a persistent person, who happened to be a LSC-North Harris student, which ended up making an incredible impact in his life.
“Things began to change last year when I started dating someone with a good head on her shoulders; she was a student at Lone Star College,” said Rico. “She asked me why I never thought to enroll. I explained to her that I did not have my diploma, and because of that I was unable to enroll, let alone attend college. Truth be told, I was afraid, I have never been more afraid.”
Fear is something that can be a barrier to a lot of people, and for Rico, he had a wall that was up, and was convinced that he was not going to let it fall—or so he thought.
Due to the constant motivation of his girlfriend, Rico’s wall started to slowly budge, so he took the first step and prepared to take the GED to earn his high school diploma.
After successfully completing his GED, the next step would be for Rico to enroll in college, right? With paperwork in hand, Rico still could not bring himself to apply.
“Last January I finally received the paperwork that would allow me to not only find better employment, but ultimately to chase my dreams. Needless to say, I still did not apply to Lone Star College. I did not think I would be accepted, and background aside, I did not think I could afford college,” added Rico.
Rico found himself in a place of uncertainty. Contemplating on what his future would hold, he got the shock of a lifetime and that final push that he had so desperately longed for to finally break that wall and open a new door to his future.
“Little did I know that when my girlfriend was enrolling in her classes, she was also enrolling me into the school,” said Rico. “I was shocked, angry, offended, scared, impressed and most importantly, a first generation college student.”
After making his first appointment with a counselor, Rico was instructed that he needed to take a placement exam to see what level of courses he needed to start with. While still struggling with math, he was surprised to learn that he scored very high in English.
“I scored high in English and my counselor even complimented me,” said Rico. “I was not even registered for classes and Lone Star College had already shown me that I was good at something; I was so excited, I felt like I had purpose again.”
Rico finally knew that he had what it would take to go to college. Since enrolling at LSC-North Harris, Rico has been working hard on his school work, and currently maintains a 3.6 GPA.
“David is a truly inspiring individual,” said Penny Westerfeld, LSC-North Harris interim president. “His motivation to take the necessary steps to become successful in his education, say it all. He could have given up, but decided to persevere. Lone Star College-North Harris has helped give David the confidence in himself to dream, and I know that he will have a bright future ahead.”
After completing his Associate of Arts degree at LSC-North Harris, he would like to transfer to the University of Houston. Rico has hopes of becoming a teacher and author. He has already written several books and short stories.
“Lone Star gives me the space I need to succeed, the positive environment, encouragement and support to help me achieve success, and most importantly the resources and knowledge to help me get where I want to be,” said Rico. “Most of the time my experiences at school do not even feel real. This is nothing like the life I knew before. Lone Star College has changed my life by giving me a chance, and for this I am truly grateful.”
Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 East, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit LoneStar.edu/NorthHarris.
Lone Star College has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSC remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with almost 83,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 95,000, Lone Star College is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., is the chancellor of LSC, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.