by Tommy Wells, Ranger College
RANGER – Kimberly Rubio should probably approach Disney Studios about the possibility of joining their stable of young stars. She is, after all, already the closest thing to a real Kim Possible there is.
A senior at Eastland High School, Rubio is set to accomplish a major milestone this spring. Not only will the 17-year-old daughter of Jackie Juarez of Carbon, Texas, receive her high school diploma in May, she’ll garner not one, but two, college degrees from Ranger College. Thanks to her hard work through the college’s Upward Bound program, she’ll also be heading to Texas Tech University as a junior.
That’s not too bad for someone who only a few months ago was worried whether she could afford to continue her education. Fortunately for Rubio, she learned Ranger College was starting an Upward Bound program, aimed at helping high school students pursue a college degree through dual credit courses.
As a sophomore at Eastland, she completed a lengthy enrollment application. Shortly after, she began taking classes.
Just over a year and a half after starting, Rubio is proving anything is possible. Heading into the Christmas holidays, she already has obtained enough credits to graduate in May 2019. In doing so, she will become the first student in Ranger College’s Upward Bound program to attain a degree.
“It is amazing what she has accomplished,” said RC Upward Bound Program Director John Rhine. “Students in Upward Bound face difficulties other students may not face, so for Kim to earn her Associate of Science and Associate of Arts is amazing. For her to walk out of here having achieved what she has done is amazing.”
According to a 2002 study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), only about 16 percent of students from low-income families attain degrees from colleges, compared to more than 60 percent of students from high-income families graduate.
Ranger College President Dr. William J. Campion praised Rubio’s success.
“She’s a remarkable young woman,” he said. “We commend her for her determination and desire to do what she needed to get not one, but two degrees. I am thrilled to see what the future holds for her, and very happy that we could help her achieve this.”
Rubio, who works in her spare time at Pulido’s restaurant in Eastland to help with family expenses, said being a part of the Upward Bound program has also helped her greatly in more than just receiving her associate degrees. It has also helped her realize a dream of attending a major university.
“When I graduate from Ranger (College) through Upward Bound I will be eligible for a lot more help, scholarship-wise,” she said. “Our (her family’s) income isn’t that great so it’ll help me get to go to Texas Tech.”
Initially, Rubio said she applied to transfer to a handful of Texas colleges, including Texas Tech, Texas State University in San Marcos, Tarleton State University in Stephenville, the University of Texas at Austin, Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Her first choice, she said, was Tech.
Turning in the applications paid off. Shortly after applying, she was notified that she had been accepted into Texas State, Tarleton and Texas Tech.
“My mother and I are both pretty proud,” she said.
Rubio said she hoped to break into the fashion industry one day, or to pursue a career as a psychologist.
“I’ve always like art and would like to get into fashion design or maybe be a psychologist,” she said. “I wanted to get my Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees, just in case.”
Whichever career path she follows, she’s already proven anything is possible.