Richland Student Media

The Student News Site of Dallas College - Richland


Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media


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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

Reflections on earning an All-USA award

Richland student chosen as one of 20 to make All-USA Academic Team
Arianna Villarreal

Receiving that email on Feb. 26 informing me that I was among the mere 0.9% of nominated students selected for the 2024 All-USA Academic Team, was nothing short of a shock. I mean, being recognized as one of the Top 20 community college students nationwide? It was pretty unexpected.
Let me give you some context about this prestigious award. The All-USA Academic Team is an annual recognition sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa and the Cengage Group. It all starts with students applying individually for the PTK General Scholarship Application. Then, each campus reviews these applications and nominates two students, with the approval of the campus president, to compete for the national All-USA Academic Team.
This accolade holds immense weight, especially in associate-degree granting institutions. It recognizes college students who not only excel academically but also demonstrate leadership and service, extending their education’s impact beyond the classroom to benefit society.
To be completely honest, I initially thought the email announcing my selection was sent in error. Frankly, I wasn’t even planning to submit the scholarship application. So, receiving that announcement left me utterly surprised. To put it into perspective, it would be three times more likely to get into Harvard than to be a part of this team.
That is to say, being a part of this team has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Looking back, I realize I couldn’t have achieved this feat alone. It underscores the fact that while personal ambition propels us forward, our most significant achievements often stem from collaboration and seeking assistance from those around us.
Above all, this award is a tribute to the sacrifices my parents and family made. When we immigrated to the United States from Mexico, we could have never foreseen the challenges that awaited us. From my parents’ business nearing bankruptcy to my family relocating back to Mexico, leaving me behind in Dallas at 15, we’ve faced numerous obstacles in pursuit of the American Dream. Thanks to All-USA, my plans involve transferring to either Georgetown University or Southern Methodist University to pursue studies in economics and international studies.
So, this accolade isn’t solely mine; it belongs to all the individuals who supported me along the way. To those who opened their homes to me, mentored me and provided a comforting presence during life’s trials, I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude.
I want to leave you with this: Never hesitate to ask for help or mentorship. There are people out there who are more than willing to guide you, but it’s up to you to take that first step. Once you do, you’ll find doors opening up in ways you never imagined. It made a real difference in my life, and if you ever need someone to be there for you, know that I’m just a conversation away.

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