Roger Salguero - Doors will open...
“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.” Vince Lombardi
Roger Salguero’s life is a success story. Born in Guatemala, his parents were committed to coming to the United States to build a better life for him. When his mother passed away from cancer when he was only 7 years old, his father followed through on that dream, and they moved to Phoenixville.
The first few months were tough; Roger spoke no English, and only attended a separate ESL (English as a Second Language) class for a small portion of the day. But Roger had a determination and persistence to learn which overrode his disadvantages. As his language acquisition grew, so did his desire to achieve.
By the time Roger reached high school, he was in mostly College Prep classes, with Math being his best subject. All of his friends were talking about college, which “sounded nice”, but he hadn’t grown up thinking he would attend college—none of his family had a high school diploma, not to mention a college degree. His father supported his efforts 100%, and helped with his homework when he could.
A couple of outstanding teachers became Roger’s mentors and cheerleaders. Roger credits both Steve Winnick and Andy Chiofolo with believing in him, supporting and encouraging him, and challenging him to reach high. Roger says of Mr. Winnick, “he pushed me to think harder, to think critically—he TAUGHT me to think, and helped prepare me for college.”
Mr. Chiofolo saw something special in Roger as well, and lobbied for him to take AP Calculus his senior year, even though he didn’t have all of the prerequisites for the class. “Mr. Chiofolo knew what type of student I was, and knew I worked hard for everything I got,” shared Roger. Mr. Chiofolo’s belief in Roger wasn’t misplaced, as he not only completed the class, but passed the national AP test at its conclusion.
Getting to college was another hurdle. Chester County Futures helped financially, and Roger began at Montgomery County Community College. His goal, however, was Penn State. He began working with an admissions counselor who helped him through the process, and a year ago he received his acceptance letter. As a Mechanical Engineering major, the hard work was just beginning! The challenges were many, including working a full time job while carrying a full load of classes. There were times when Roger wasn’t sure he could continue, but one thought kept going through his head “I didn’t make it this far just to fail”.
As he prepares to enter his senior year of college, the future looks very bright. Roger is currently doing research work with one of his professors, and one of their studies has been submitted for publication. He is a leader on campus, acting as a Lion Ambassador (helping new students acclimate). His goals include getting his Masters and Ph.D. and teaching at the college level to “inspire students and pay it forward.”
His advice to younger students (and to all of us, really) is to keep trying. “You don’t want to go through life and realize you could have done something but didn’t because you didn’t try. Don’t limit yourself. Continue moving forward. Doors WILL open if you continue to work hard.” We hope you find lots of open doors as you continue, Roger. Well done.
Photo: Roger Salguero and one of his biggest fans, PAHS Principal Dr. Craig Parkinson