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Nilka (Nicki) Rios

DCCCD student and future hopeful criminal justice teacher

“My mom has watched TV programs about law and order since I can remember and most of my family is in corrections. I dropped out of high school five months before graduation because I was pregnant and I tried to get back into school three different times but I just couldn’t finish. I finally got my GED and started classes at DCCCD.

“I’ve got to say, I always wanted to be in criminal justice but I wasn’t sure in what capacity: FBI, SWAT team, what? Being in Bill Drake’s class is the best! He’s the best teacher and he inspires me to think about career possibilities, beyond what I was originally thinking.

“I’m a single mom with three kids, but there are no excuses to not going to college because there are so many programs to take advantage of. I have assistance with food and child care, but I’m not going to be dependent on those forever. I’ve been out of the house since I was 16; I was too independent for my own good. I come from a good and stable family, but I was hanging out with the wrong people and doing things the wrong way. But I want my kids to have a good life.

“Yes, I messed up by not finishing high school, but I’m fixing my past mistakes. I’m earning a college degree and I want to be a criminal justice teacher.

Nicki Rios is earning an associate degree in Criminal Justice. She also volunteers at Atwell Middle School and Law Center as an assistant English teacher and soccer coach. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.