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Ralph Toribio ’03

 

Ralph Toribio ’03

ralph toribio updated2Ralph Toribio ’03 (Central High School) graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2008 with a B.S. in Textiles, Merchandising & Design. “I was following in my mother’s steps of becoming a fashion designer and with hopes of one day having my own brand,” he says. “I soon realized that although it was something I loved to do, it was not my passion, and since then have focused on social work and serving the community.”

Ralph currently serves in the United States Air Force Reserves as a Security Forces Police Officer with rank of Senior Airman. He is also an Employment Specialist at The Providence Center, where he helps individuals dealing with mental and health issues integrate back into the community and find employment. He is in the process of completing an Associate’s degree from the Community College of the Air Force with a concentration in Criminal Justice, expected in June 2016. “I am working toward my goal of serving my community as a city police officer, integrating my true passion – which is community support and law enforcement,” he says.

Prior to embarking on his current career goals, Ralph developed his talent and passion for service as a staff member of The College Crusade, working as a High School Advisor for us from 2008 to 2014. Throughout those years, he helped many Crusaders attending Woonsocket High School and Shea High School stay on track for college. “My students responded to high expectations,” he says. “They wanted to do well in school and expected themselves to succeed.”

Ralph has vivid memories of several programs he attended as a Crusader. Looking back, he wishes he had been able to be even more involved and is grateful for encouragement he received from his own Crusade counselor to pursue his college opportunities and get his FAFSA filed on time. He also appreciates the scholarship support he was awarded. “The College Crusade scholarship made a huge difference and impact to my finances,” he says. “If it wasn’t for the College Crusade and the scholarship I earned, I would have had to settle for less of an education or work full time while going to school. Growing up in a low-income household and community, I know my parents were very grateful for the scholarship and happy to have signed me up as a Crusader.”

College was a great experience for Ralph, especially the chance he was offered to participate in URI’s Talent Development Program. “Talent Development gave me a huge opportunity and challenged me to excel in my academics in order to be successful and prepare for the rest of my college years,” he says. “I also enjoyed having the experience of living in the dorms and away from home. Although you end up missing family and takes time to adjust, it gives you a sense of responsibility and freedom.”

Ralph has an active schedule. “In my free time, if I ever find some, I work out at the gym, go running, or go to the shooting range, where I keep up with my target practice and firearms qualifications for the military,” he says. “I also travel to Miami once a month for military duties.”

He offers this strong advice to high school Crusaders: “I encourage you to really get involved in your high schools while you still can. Also get involved in your community, and network, network, network! Networking is a key to getting the most out of college and creating opportunities for the future. Try to meet and connect with other Crusaders, as you already start with something in common and most likely will mingle often during your college years. Get involved in college, whether by joining a sport, Greek Life, or a social group that will keep you busy. If you are living in the dorms, try to get out as much as you can and explore. I also recommend studying abroad and traveling while you’re still young.”