Area woman works toward better life for herself, kids

Loryanne Rodriguez

Loryanne Mercado Rodriguez came to the United States four years ago from Puerto Rico.

She was scared when she left her home for better opportunities,  she said, noting that she wants to be able to take better care of her two children, ages 5 and nearly 2.

“I want them to see their mom is working hard to be a professional, Rodriguez said. “I want them to be professionals, too. I want them to have a better life.”

Rodriguez, who lives in Woodstock and works full time at Bowman Andros in Mount Jackson, began taking classes at Triplett Tech to strengthen her English skills.

In February, she called Lord Fairfax Community College. “I told them: ‘I don’t know English good enough to go to college,'” Rodriguez said. “They said ‘come.'”

She did.

On March 27 she walked into a classroom and began attending classes at Middletown campus.

“I was nervous. I was excited,” Rodriguez said.

Her goal is to become a medical office assistant. She began with an introduction class for a medical office assistant and an English class that strengthens her language skills, specifically for the medical field.

“They help you through the medical words,” she said. “I learned a lot in those classes.”

Rodriquez fell in love with the medical field in Puerto Rico while in high school when she took classes for a medical office assistant. She never forgot the dream, even when she moved to the mainland.

“I love it; it is my passion,” Rodriguez said. “Over time, I have worked to that goal.”

She volunteers at the Shenandoah Community Health Clinic and said she is thrilled when she can help translate for patients or their families who can’t speak English.

“I feel confident about my future. I am ready, and I can do this,” Rodriguez said.