Running Start to Success

Margaret Torio's journey at Rock Valley College began through Running Start.

Margaret Torio

Margaret Torio, Running Start Student

This program allows select, qualified, academically motivated students enrolled in participating high schools to earn their high school diploma and associate's degree concurrently by attending RVC full-time during their junior and senior years.

Despite not knowing what to expect, Margaret is grateful for the opportunity as RVC has become the most life-changing place for her. Margaret is studying business and pursuing her associate degree in arts at RVC.

"My professors have been inspiring me from their own stories about their careers, which what led me to be more passionate about my business major."

As an immigrant from a different culture than America, it was a struggle for Margaret to adapt to her new environment at first. Various obstacles made it difficult for her to adjust, like language barriers, cultural differences, and so much more. When she was in high school, meeting people with the same interests as hers was a challenge, and it wasn't easy to make real friends. "When I arrived at RVC, the community was so diverse that any of your interests could be filled in with student organizations. Clubs that I got involved in made me feel so welcome that I treat them as my second family, and it is also where I have met my life-long friends now."

RVC's campus is welcoming and offers various facilities for students to enjoy. Margaret appreciates the approachable professors who make connecting and understanding course materials easy. Through RVC, Margaret has grown personally and professionally. She's taken on leadership roles, including Homecoming Queen 2023, President of the Running Start Club, and President of the Campus Activities Board, all of which contribute to her future career and goals.

"The faculty are the best ones; they make the campus lively and filled with events every month. I love that they consider the students' well-being and find ways to make us enjoy our time there."

Challenges are part of every educational journey, and for Margaret, it was adjusting her standards and expectations from high school to college. In college, she learned the value of putting in extra effort to succeed, unlike the more accessible classes in high school.

"Margaret is an outstanding student with a remarkable dedication to her studies, social media branding, and helping others flourish. Throughout our time together, she has been highly involved in numerous Student Life and RVC initiatives," said Sheila Ogbevire, RVC Student Activities Coordinator. "As a running start student and the president of the Campus Activities Board, Margaret consistently demonstrates an exceptional work ethic, a strong sense of responsibility, and a keen ability to lead by example. She always gives 100% to any task and delivers results. Margaret's exceptional leadership skills make her a go-to resource for guidance and assistance with various club tasks. She is a true asset to the RVC community."

Margaret's experience at RVC has been transformative, filled with meaningful connections that have become her second family. The inclusive atmosphere fostered by the Student Life Department and the college community as a whole has made RVC a true community for her.

"Margaret exemplifies what it means to be a member of the RVC community. Whether through her unwavering work ethic, deep commitment to academic excellence, or active involvement in extracurricular activities, Margaret consistently demonstrates exceptional dedication," said Taylor Honeyman, D100 Early College Coordinator and Transition Advisor. "A dedication that not only enriches her own educational experience but also enhances the campus experience for all. Margaret's drive and determination set a remarkable example for her peers, showcasing the true spirit of being a Golden Eagle."

After graduating from RVC, Margaret plans to transfer to a four-year university to pursue her bachelor's degree. Her advice to fellow students is to get involved, be present, and be open-minded.