Nine Riverside classmates to receive BMCC degrees

Contributed photo Less than two weeks after receiving their high school diplomas on June 2, a group of nine Riverside High School classmates, who are pictured with principal David Norton and counselor Elizabeth Rosen, will receive their Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degrees from Blue Mountain Community College.

When the Riverside High School class of 2018 walks across the stage on June 2 to receive their high school diplomas, a group of nine classmates will be looking forward to another milestone.

Less than two weeks after turning the tassel at the Boardman high school, Ruby Barrera, Abby Hernandez, Kevin Madrigal, Misael Madrigal, Fabian Meza, Luis Olvera, Daniel Rodriguez, Brock Rosen and Andrew Sorensen will receive their Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degrees from Blue Mountain Community College.

“This is a pretty amazing group of students. They represent the student body president, athletic teams, theater, Key Club — they are involved in all aspects of our school,” said David Norton, Riverside principal.

The seven boys and two girls are described as a competitive bunch. They have been pushing each other academically for the past few years. When one of them found out about earning college credit, they all jumped on the idea. When another said he was going to earn his AAOT during high school, the others decided they would, too.

“I had started taking college classes, but starting junior year, all my friends were doing more credits,” Olvera said. “I don’t like when others pass me by.”

At Riverside, there are 15 college courses offered for a possible total of 55 credits. The dual credit classes, Kevin Madrigal said, really opened the door.

Through partnerships with BMCC’s Early College Credit department, the BMCC Workforce Training Center in Boardman and support of administrators and teachers, many Riverside students are earning college credits. This year, ninth through 12th graders at Riverside will earn 1,788 college credits, including 341 credits by seniors. Over the last four school years, the senior class of 2018 has earned 1,351 credits, translating into 15 of them who have earned more than one year’s worth of college credit.

Norton and counselor Elizabeth Rosen have worked closely with the group of students. They are proud of what they have accomplished and are committed to making it happen for many more Riverside students.

The cooperation between the school and BMCC, Rosen said, has evolved and improved, making the process more streamlined. She also said there has been great support from the Morrow County Education Foundation, which pays for the majority of college credits for Riverside students, totaling more than $100,000 for these seniors alone.

“Now that I am more educated about the program, we are doing more individualized counseling targeted to students’ future plans, and this is a great benefit for all students,” Rosen said.

With their high school diploma in one hand and their AAOT in the other, the students are already looking forward to future plans.

Barrera wants to study business management — likely at the University of Portland. Also making plans to attend the Portland school are Misael Madrigal, who will focus on civil engineering, and Rodriguez to study operations and technical management.

Hernandez is heading to the University of Oregon to pursue a degree in business administration and sports marketing, with the goal of landing a job at Nike. Kevin Madrigal plans to study crop and soil science or electrical engineering at Oregon State University.

Meza is looking to obtain a software engineering technology degree at Oregon Institute of Technology, and Olvera will study computer science at Western Oregon University.

Rosen has his sights on studying cyber security at Columbia Basin College and Sorensen plans to complete a church mission and then earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science at OSU or Brigham Young University.

For more information, contact Norton at 541-481-2525 or

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