Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yesterday — high school dropout wannabe ...
Today — international business student

By Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations & Special Events

When Raul Dominguez was 16 years old, he had his mind made up that he was going to drop out of Midland High School.

“I was a terrible high school student,” said Dominguez. “I was never prepared—I was lucky if I had a pencil in my pocket, much less paper. I had no idea what my GPA was, and I didn’t care.”

Thankfully, his mother, who never completed high school herself, intervened. She wanted things to be better for her children than they were for her, so she spoke with a counselor at Midland High, and the two of them convinced Raul to stay in school. Dominguez persisted at Midland High and graduated (just barely) in May of 2009.

“I really didn’t want to go to college, but some of my friends were going, and we had heard that there were scholarships at Midland College, so I said to myself, ‘Why not? I’ll give it a shot.’ Of course my grades weren’t good enough to be eligible for a lot of those scholarships.”

Dominguez finally managed to receive the Bill Pace Cogdell Scholarship, which paid for his tuition, books and fees, and he enrolled at Midland College.

“Since I hadn’t applied myself during high school, I scored really low on my placement tests; therefore, most of my courses were developmental classes,” explained Dominguez.

One of those developmental courses may have just been his saving grace because thanks to caring instructors and the assistance of Student Support Services, Dominguez found out that he had a knack for math.

Dominguez recalled, “I couldn’t have gotten through that first semester without Student Support Services. The staff became my little family at Midland College. Everyone was so supportive, and if I needed anything at all, the doors were always open and someone was always there to help. I didn’t know anything about going to college, and while my parents encouraged me, they were both high school dropouts, so they knew very little about what was needed to succeed in higher education. The programs at Student Support Services taught me how to study, and I became aware of possible careers where I could apply my newly found math skills.”

Once he mastered math, Dominguez became a math tutor so that he could help others who were struggling through the dreaded four-letter word. That young man who never took a book home in high school started helping others understand their homework! Today, Dominguez is a 2011 Midland College graduate and has taken his passion for math and applied it to a major in International Business at Texas Tech University (TTU). He plans to graduate with his baccalaureate degree in May 2014, after studying abroad for at least one semester.

Once he receives his degree from TTU, Dominguez said that he will return to Midland and expand his father’s oilfield pipe distribution company. His ultimate goal is to take the family business from a local transportation company to an international pipe purchaser, transporter and distributor.

Dominguez said, “That may sound like an impossible goal for someone who almost dropped out of high school, but I plan to tackle my career aspirations just like I did math: I’ll take it one step at a time and put a lot of hard work and time into it. Math turned out to be fun—I plan for my career to go the same way!”

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