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Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High School alumni return as employees to pay it forward

Fabiola Rizo is a bilingual school counselor and Maria Abundiz Campos is a bilingual social worker at Green Bay East High School.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Fabiola Rizo and Maria Abundiz Campos
Posted at 11:59 AM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 19:30:43-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at NBC 26, we head to Green Bay East High School for our next feature where two Latino alumni have returned to help shape the lives of others.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High alumni return as employees to pay it forward

Meet Fabiola Rizo, she is a bilingual school counselor at East High.

Fabiola Rizo

Meet Maria Abundiz Campos, she is a bilingual social worker at the school.

Maria Abundiz Campos

For these alumni of East High, a trip down memory lane happens every day when they walk down the halls where they once learned.

Green Bay East High

"Here I am with my braces,” said Fabiola, pointing at old photos.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High School alumni return as employees to pay it forward
Green Bay East High

East High School has a high Latino student population.

These Latinas are now helping students and families who may only speak limited English, or Spanish, putting their bilingual skills to use to help the next generation of students succeed.

"I see myself in those students who are just coming to the states,” said Abundiz Campos.

Campos immigrated from Mexico when she was 15 years old.

"Students come and tell me, yeah I just came here from Nicaragua, Honduras. They tell me yeah we just coming to this country. We are new to the area. I saw this a lot this year a lot, a lot,” said Abundiz Campos.

WATCH as she shares her story, her family's journey to Green Bay and what the transition was like:

Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High alumni return as employees to pay it forward

Thanks to the support system she received at this school, she was able to pursue her degree at UW-Oshkosh.

But she almost didn't go to college. Abundiz Campos explains about how she took the ACT and didn't pass the first time.

After encouragement from a friend she studied harder and finally passed.

Watch her explain:

Now as a social worker, she works with students just like her.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High alumni return as employees to pay it forward
Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High alumni return as employees to pay it forward

She knows very well that the transition can be challenging, which is why she's hoping her story can be one of inspiration.

"I was one of them I think I can share my story, now I can be someone's role model. Someone who inspires the new students here. I think many of my students need someone like me, who speak the language, who came as a teenager like they came," Abundiz Campos said.

Watch:

As for Fabiola Rizo, her path wasn't easy either.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High School alumni return as employees to pay it forward

She spent half of her childhood back and forth between Mexico and the Midwest.

Click here to learn more about her story.

"Here is me at the end there at Latino Club,” said Rizo as she pointed to her another yearbook photo.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High School alumni return as employees to pay it forward

She described being part of the club as being in a place that felt like home.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Green Bay East High School alumni return as employees to pay it forward

Below you can view a video of her showing these very photos.

Watch:

With mentors and other teachers supporting her, she also was able to attend U-W Oshkosh.

As a first-generation college student, she completed her undergrad degree and her Master's.

Together, the two hope their journey is one others can follow.

Below Rizo shares what brought her back to her alma mater.

Watch:

Green Bay East High

"With my students I'm talking about my family in Mexico, the one that is here, and what I'm eating at home, what I had this weekend. What things I’m watching on TV that are in Spanish, what’s on social media, what’s trending. And speaking Spanish that is a huge part that's culture right there. I love the environment that I'm in here at East," Rizo said.

East High