Featured photo: Blue Ridge Community College teacher preparation student Liliana Martinez-Salgado is a Henderson County Education Foundation ‘Grow Our Own’ teaching scholarship recipient. (Photo By: Rich Keen, Blue Ridge Community College Marketing & Communications Dept.)
The following story was featured in Blue Ridge Community College’s 2021-22 annual report. This report and others are available online on the Sobre Blue Ridge webpage.
After four years of working at the front desk of Flat Rock’s Upward Elementary, Liliana Martinez-Salgado decided she wanted to take her career a step further – one that would lead her to become an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. Utilizing a scholarship from the Henderson County Education Foundation’s Grow Our Own Educational Assistance Fund, Liliana was able to embark upon her new career at Blue Ridge Community College.
Liliana recently enrolled in one of Blue Ridge’s Teacher Preparation programs and said that these programs are an ideal starting point for those who want to teach in grades K-12.
“Blue Ridge has played such a tremendous role in helping me to achieve my career goals,” she said. “While I really enjoy working at the front desk and assisting with translation, I’m really excited to take this next step.”
Blue Ridge’s education programs are offered in various formats to accommodate all students. There’s a fully online option as well as in-person classes, and since many students work full-time, both types of classes are also offered at night.
Liliana decided to pursue a fully online option, which is an ideal fit for her busy schedule. Even while in school at Blue Ridge, Liliana continues to work at Upward Elementary and as a liaison in the Migrant Education Program (MEP) with Henderson County Public Schools. As an MEP liaison for the past five years, she has helped children and their families adjust to their new schools and homes.
“I enjoy helping other people who have immigrated to this country from other areas,” she said. “I know what it’s like. My family moved here from Mexico in 2001, so I can relate to their experiences.”
Through the Uniform Articulation Agreement in Teacher Education/Educator Preparation, Blue Ridge provides a seamless transition to students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Once she obtains her associate degree, Liliana plans to transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in teaching. With articulation agreements in place with all of the UNC System institutions as well as many private colleges and universities, Liliana’s move will be a smooth one.
For many students, a completely online experience can be challenging. Thanks to Blue Ridge’s Success Coaches who have worked closely with her to ensure she has all the support she needs to successfully complete the program, Liliana has thrived with her online education.
“The Success Coaches not only helped me to plan out my classes, but they also provided financial guidance and even emotional support to make sure I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed,” she explained.
Looking forward, Liliana is focused on helping others.
“I want to help break barriers in the Latino community, and I want everyone to feel welcome here. I’ve completed all my schooling here and want others to know that if I can do it, so can they,” she said.
Read more stories like Liliana’s in Blue Ridge Community College’s 2021-22 annual report. This report and others are available online on the Sobre Blue Ridge webpage.