A Passion to Serve

Growing up in Rockford, a city with challenges, Juan Nogueda is inspired to bring about positive change.

Juan Nogueda

Juan Nogueda, RVC Student Trustee

“Juan Nogueda is an exceptional student and leader among his peers,” said Sheila Ogbevire, Student Activities Coordinator. “He is always willing to take the lead to find a solution and help others. Juan has a bright future ahead of him because of his kindness and compassion towards others and his community.” Juan began at Rock Valley College, pursuing an Associate in Applied Science in Fire Science. He’s studying Fire Science to become a firefighter and make a difference in his community.

While working hard in his classes, Juan also takes on leadership roles at RVC. Juan is great at talking to people and making everyone feel included. He’s also good at planning events and managing people, essential skills for his future career.

Adjunct Fire Instructor Timothy Free met Juan when he enrolled in the technical rescue class, then the following semester in the fire academy. “After almost 20 years in the fire service, I’ve had the opportunity to train several brand-new firefighters, some great, some good, and some that decided the job wasn’t for them,” said Timothy. “I have never met anyone like Juan before, he is a category all on his own. He’s respectful, loyal, disciplined, and motivated, all of which make him one of the best I’ve had the privilege to help educate. In the fire service we follow a creed, service above self. Juan exemplifies this creed in his service to RVC and the community.”

Besides his studies and plans, Juan is motivated by his two younger sisters. He wants to be a good role model and help his community. He believes that by caring about the present, future, and past, he can grow personally and help others. “It’s important to have both motivation and discipline,” said Juan. “Motivation gives you the desire to achieve your goals, but discipline helps you keep going even when you don’t feel motivated.” Juan has learned this from his own experiences with health issues and family problems. He knows that discipline is key to overcoming obstacles and staying focused. Juan takes on many responsibilities at college. He joined student organizations like Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) and Campus Activities Board (CAB). He’s made a significant impact in ALAS, starting as a secretary and later becoming the vice president and eventually the president. Juan shows excellent leadership and dedication to both clubs even when unexpected things happen.

“Being a Golden Eagle, the mascot of Rock Valley College, doesn’t mean changing who you are,” said Juan. “It means embracing your culture and community while taking advantage of the opportunities the college offers. By choosing RVC, students can transform their lives, learn about different cultures, and make a positive impact in their communities.”

The most important achievement for Juan is being elected as the Student Trustee for the 2023-24 school year. This is a unique role where he works closely with the college’s leaders and ensures students’ voices are heard. He wants to get more students involved in fun activities and use the college’s resources to help them prepare for their futures. Juan believes RVC can produce great leaders by supporting and empowering students. He knows that being a student trustee is a big responsibility.

“I respect the previous student trustee, Mr. Russell, who balances his military service with his duties as a student trustee,” said Juan. “I want to grow personally and professionally in this role, knowing that by helping other students, I am helping the community.”

Juan’s passion for firefighting and serving the community has been clear throughout his college journey. The Fire Science program at RVC gives him the skills he needs and inspires him to make a difference.

“Juan has demonstrated a sincerity in character not typically so outwardly evident in someone so young,” said Chief Joel Hallstrom, North Park Fire Protection District and RVC Fire Science Adjunct Instructor. “It is hard to verbalize the demeanor seen daily from Juan in class to describe what a great attitude he possesses, despite some challenges he’s faced in life. As he progresses through his collegiate path, I’m excited to see his growth and where he lands after Rock Valley. Whatever fire department he lands at will be better with him in their ranks, and the community he’ll serve will reap those benefits as well.”

Juan’s passion for firefighting and serving the community has been clear throughout his college journey. The Fire Science program at RVC gives him the skills he needs and inspires him to make a difference.

Looking back on his time at college, Juan loves how diverse and inclusive RVC is. People from different cultures and backgrounds come together like a family. They can pursue their passions and keep learning and growing.

“Juan was in my SPH 131 class during the Spring 2023 semester and 30 seconds into his first formal talk, there was a palpable buzz in the room,” said Bob Betts, RVC Speech Professor. “His brilliance was obvious right away. The weeks after that say as much about Juan because he has uncommon kindness that is not forced. People are drawn to him because he is authentic and brilliant.”

Juan’s time at RVC is filled with passion, dedication, and a commitment to helping others. As he prepares to start his firefighting career, his influence on the college and the community will always be remembered. RVC, its students, and its future leaders will always be grateful for the fantastic contributions of Juan Nogueda, the student trustee with a compassionate heart and a burning desire for positive change.