Student Success Corner: Near Zero to Hero – Failed Placement Exam Turns into 3.79 GPA

by Atahabih Germain


“Someone once told me, in life, you have to keep working hard and not be afraid. If you are afraid, I advise you to use that fear in your favor. If you are insecure of something you must work double to feel better. However, when that time comes to actually face that challenge, it would be easier to overcome it because you are already prepared for it.” That was a piece of advice from the WCC student, Dario Cano.

Cano is currently finishing his last semester at WCC, majoring in Engineering Science, and he holds a GPA of 3.79. However, his current sate of success did not come so easy. What makes Cano’s story so special is the fact that he came to the United States from Honduras at the age of 19 in 2011, not knowing a single word of English.

“My mom left me with my grandparents in Honduras when I was 3-years-old, therefore she could come [to the US] to get a better future, so I could go to school and be someone better in life,” said Cano.

After 16 years Cano was able to come to the US to finish college. However, he was struck with fear because of the language barrier he would be faced with.

“I came here the first 3 months; I was okay because I did not need to speak English at home. But later, my mom told me I had to go to school. So I went to Rochambeau High School, which I didn’t like at all because I didn’t know any English and I wasn’t able to understand a single word the professor said. After three weeks I told my mom I didn’t like it and I wanted to go back to Honduras,” said Cano.

However, just when Cano was ready to give up, his mother had other plans in mind. She had heard of an English placement test held at WCC and encouraged Cano to give it a try. He did, and unfortunately he did not pass the exam.

“That day I felt terrible and I wanted to go back to my country, but the same day I found out that WCC had a program at the White Plains’ Library. I decided to go there and they accepted me,” said Cano.

Cano dedicated his time and worked hard attending every and any workshop or program offered to him. He also went to the library twice a week for extra practice. He finished the English program within a year and a half, became fluent in English and eventually reapplied and was accepted into WCC’s English as a Second Language program.

Cano said his biggest motivation is his family, especially his mother and stepfather as they’ve supported him throughout his journey and continue to do so. Cano also credits his two little sisters, as the oldest, he wants to set a good example for them so they continue to do well in their studies.

“I’m also the President of El Club Hispano American (ECHS Club) here at WCC. I like to play soccer, basketball, and watch movies,” said Cano when explaining the things he likes to do when not studying.

Cano has already been accepted into Stony Brook College, and University of Buffalo, just to name a few, although his true dream is to enroll in the electrical engineering program at SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx. He hopes to become an electrical engineer and to one day be able to use his success to help his native Hondurans.

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