Inspiring LaBelle – Pursuing her educational dreams

Angela Rivas graduated from LaBelle High School in 1995 and promptly enrolled in Edison College (which is now FSW). Angela had always held a goal of continuing her education and securing a better future for herself and her family. While a student at Edison, Angela became a young mother at the age of nineteen and after getting her associates degree from Edison, she enrolled at Florida Gulf Coast University to work toward her bachelors degree.

“Working full time, and then trying to go to school, I would get home at eleven o’clock at night. One night I heard my son call my mom, his mom. I said to myself ‘No. I can’t do this because he is my priority,” Angela told me.

It was at that point that she decided to put her education on hold and focus on raising her son, and that she did. When Rivas’ son graduated from high school in 2015 and her daughter became a freshmen in high school, Angela decided it was time to go back to school.

“I had a promise to my parents that even though I started my family young, right out of high school, that I would finish my college education. It was a dream of mine and a promise that I had made to my parents. And so sixteen years later, after I had raised my children I decided it was time, I could do it, and I enrolled at Keiser University,” Rivas said.

Her dedication to being the best student she could be hadn’t missed a beat and she was inducted into the Delta Mu Delta, an international honor society for business students, as she continued to strive to be the best example for her now young adult children.

“I got a call last week informing me that I am the state wide Valedictorian for their graduating class. There are over three hundred graduates statewide and I am the Valedictorian!” said Angela. “It’s been such a huge accomplishment because it’s been challenging and overwhelming at times trying to juggle family, my career, and school at the same time; but I hung in there and I did it!”

Angela says that her message is “It’s never too late to go after your dreams and not to ever give up on yourself.”

Rivas already has a successful career as the COO at a CPA firm in Fort Myers where she has worked for fourteen years. “Nothing here will change but for me it was just accomplishing a goal that I had set years ago,” she added.

Angela Rivas will graduated Valedictorian of her graduating class from Keiser University on January 20, 2018 and she gave me a peek at the speech she has prepared. In her own poignant words she says…

“While I have always seemed to take the road less traveled, which has truly made all the difference. I knew I could do it for I am not alone. God provides me with the strength and knowledge that I need, the courage to know that even when I fall, he will be there to pick me up. He has been and will always be our biggest fan.”

Val can be reached at

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