Arleth Rodrigues Rascon
Arleth Rodrigues Rascon, 18, of Gillette, Wyoming, a senior at Campbell County High School, has played a lead role in providing Spanish-speaking students and families in her community and throughout her state with Spanish-language information about applying and paying for college. When she was 6 years old, Arleth started learning English. At first this new language was just “alien noises,” but within six months she was fluent. From then on, she was her family’s translator, deciphering bills, making appointments, reading mail, and toggling between English and Spanish at meetings. “Language is the most explicit barrier in society,” Arleth noted.
She soon became an active translator for community members as well, and began translating materials sent out to students by her school’s college readiness program. She also worked with an advisor to hold Spanish-language events at her school to disseminate information about the college application process, scholarships and other financial aid, and local college preparatory programs. She created presentations, promoted the events throughout the community and translated resource materials. Today, Arleth serves as the college readiness program’s first-ever Spanish community coordinator, and her presentations and translations have been made available to Spanish speakers across Wyoming. “Being a first-generation student, I have had to navigate the college process with no support from my parents,” Arleth said. “Many students share the same story. I believe everyone should be provided equal resources to be able to unleash their potential.”