College Was Not An Option For Rancho Cordova Student
Joel Rabara always knew he would go to college. It was an expectation his parents held without compromise. It wasn’t until he went with his family to visit his mother’s siblings in the Philippines that he realized why.
Her relatives lived in poverty in 20’x20’ tarp-covered shelters with only a flickering black and white TV for entertainment. The contrast to Joel’s life was great and the reason for the division quickly understood: education. His mother worked hard for a nursing degree before coming to the U.S. and no less was expected of him and his sister.
His commitment to education has never wavered. Even when his family faced foreclosure of their home and his mother, Estela, was forced into early retirement after 30-years as an RN, he worked weekends throughout his Respiratory Therapy (RT) program in Rancho Cordova to help out financially. He admits that it was difficult to attend classes – an hour away – and keep up his 3.9 GPA, while working every weekend, but he persevered.
“I know that helping family isn’t really a bragging point, since everybody helps their families, but it really took a toll on my being able to focus on education and juggle extracurricular activities,” says Joel. Those extracurricular activities included devoting every Friday to tutoring other RT students struggling with the rigors of the program.
Throughout Joel’s 18-month RT program he demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills. He undertook many volunteer projects both on and off campus. He chaired and organized from start to finish SJVC’s Children’s Pulmonary Function Testing exhibition, which was open to the entire campus and for which he was recognized. Joel also hosted a canned food drive on campus in conjunction with the Sacramento Food Bank over a 2-month period that filled four barrels of non-perishable food.
Most recently he organized over 30-student volunteers to work with the Food Bank and a local church to package, display and distribute food to needy families. There is a long list of organizations that benefit from his passion and dedication.
Joel Rabara is the kind of person who isn’t content with just his own success. Whether coaching fellow students, giving community outreach a dependable leader or helping a neighbor in need, he is determined to take as many people with him into that realm as he can.
“Your word is more credible the more education and experience you have,” says Joel, who has plans to push his industry further through his own research and publication. “I want to put my name out there,” he says. We will be looking for it.
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