Students find success beyond their small town through athletics

Rio Rico High School sits in a small rural area a marathon’s distance from the border. The faculty works to encourage the students to find something they love, like athletics, and pursue it outside their town.

“We believe in our kids,” Stephen Schadler, assistant superintendent and track coach, says. “Despite being rural and a little bit removed from the bigger universities, they’re more than capable of succeeding with the right guidance.”

Carlos Villareal, now a student athlete at the University of Arizona, came to the States from Mexico with his parents when he was six years old. He says the toughest part was communicating with other kids because he didn’t know English yet. Through athletics, he found a way to connect with his classmates and enjoy something he was passionate about.

“They [Rio Rico High School] are all really supportive because they all know how hard it is to make it out of a community that’s so small,” Villareal says. “Everyone rallies around that and supports getting out of high school and going above and beyond. It’s a great community to be a part of.”

The joke around the state is, what does Rio Rico feed their kids to make them so involved in sports, says Jonathan Chavez, the school’s athletic director. However, he says their success comes from developing the right programs and having the right coaches. The positive and inclusive atmosphere makes anything seem possible.

Sponsor message:

In this segment:

Carlos Villareal: UA Student Athlete
Jonathan Chavez: Athletic Director, Rio Rico High School
Stephen Schadler: Asst. Superintendent & Track and CC Coach
Oscar Amaya: ASU Student Athlete

Sponsor message:

Sign up to receive the Arizona PBS Insider

Get up-to-the-minute information about your favorite programs and learn more about Arizona PBS news and events.

Life as 20th century British royalty proves complex in 'Margaret: The Rebel Princess'

This two-part biography, airing Sunday, Feb. 10 and Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. on Arizona PBS, shows how Princess Margaret's life and loves reflected the social and sexual revolution that transformed the western world during the 20th century, and redefined society's image of the modern princess.

'Victoria' Season 3: A fearless monarch faces down crisis

Victoria Season 3 on Masterpiece begins Sunday Jan. 13 at 8 p.m.

It is 1848, and revolution is breaking out across Europe. In Britain, one woman stands between order and chaos. Sundays at 8 p.m., beginning Jan. 13.

Arizona PBS honors the legacy of Black History Month

Arizona PBS is bringing you a lineup of new diverse shows and documentaries to celebrate Black excellence through the month of February.