Proud to be a Cardinal

December 9, 2022

By Cari Gold

UIW provided Rocio Montelongo the environment she needed to grow

Rocio Montelongo holds an orange sign that says my first day of school

When Rocio Montelongo was deciding which college to attend, she knew that having a good support system around her was important. She wanted to be able to build close connections with her professors and classmates, and she believed the smaller class sizes UIW offers would afford her that opportunity. As she prepares to graduate Saturday with a degree in Music Education, she can confidently say that she made the right choice.

“Whenever I struggled, my professors assisted me in any way they could,” shared Montelongo. “The attention to detail they would show my assignments allowed me to better myself not only academically, but also musically. I know I can lean on my mentors and friends both in and out of the classroom for anything I need help with.”

Montelongo was also determined that Music Education was the right fit for her, saying her “passion for music and teaching others” made that decision easy as well. She recalls teaching a friend how to play the saxophone, which is her primary instrument. She loved seeing their face light up when they learned how to play each piece correctly.

Rocio Montelongo smiling“The joy of seeing my friend filled with delight because of their accomplishment was a feeling that I wanted to give to future students, because it makes me happy for them too!” she exclaimed.

In her final semester of being a Cardinal, the Bellville, Texas native completed her student teaching assignment at Jackson Middle School. Teaching in a classroom setting allowed her to apply the knowledge she learned at UIW in a safe environment where she could learn from missteps before officially becoming a teacher.

Montelongo credits her successful semester at Jackson Middle School to the methods she learned during classes with her advisor, Dr. Brett Richardson (UIW associate professor, coordinator of Music Education and director of Bands).

“I acquired the most knowledge through his classes because I had to integrate information from class to class and learn to apply it in a new way,” shared Montelongo. “I did the exact same thing when I taught at the middle school, taking previous information and adapting it to fit the needs of the students.”

When she finishes student teaching, Montelongo plans to stay in San Antonio to look for a job in the area, but she is open to working anywhere in Texas. She is excited to explore the vast number of opportunities a UIW degree has afforded her.

As she prepares for graduation on Saturday, she thinks back on her time as a Cardinal. Whether it was being a member of the Marching Cardinals, participating in a national honor society or working in Residence Life, Montelongo says being involved in the campus community and building relationships has been the best part about her time at UIW.

“My favorite part of being a Cardinal was being a valued member of any organization/association I joined,” recalls Montelongo. “I knew I was an important team member and my contributions to each of the groups would not go unnoticed. They were all full of fun and rewarding adventures that truly made me proud to be a Cardinal.”