Hispanic Heritage Month highlight: Vivian Rivera


Vivian Rivera, Sheppard Elementary pre-kindergarten paraprofessional, is native of Cayey, Puerto Rico, and has been affiliated with the Air Force for 17 years. Rivera was chosen by her peers to be highlighted for outstanding performance and represent Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage Month at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, October 4, 2017. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Most significant accomplishments:

“I completed my associate’s degree in arts and I’m working towards a bachelor’s degree in natural science,” said Rivera. “I’m a paraprofessional at Sheppard Elementary for the pre-kindergarten program.”

Her story:

“I was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, but raised in the town of Cayey, Puerto Rico, also known as Ciudad de las Brumas, located in south central Puerto Rico” said Rivera.

“I met my husband, Tech Sgt. Israel Rivera, 363 Training Squadron instructor, in 1997 and three years later he enlisted in the Air Force.”

“Shortly after we got married, we ended up stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona,” she continued.

“When my husband first joined the military, it wasn’t easy overcoming the fear of speaking in another language and took a lot of courage.”

“I was previously involved with the Hispanic community in Melbourne, Florida, near Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, where we participated in Christmas events such as a reenactment of the birth of Jesus at the local church.”

“Also, here in Wichita Falls, I help many Hispanic families that come through Sheppard and need someone to translate for them,” Rivera said.

“The military is such a diverse community that at times I have felt like I’m still at home,” said Rivera. “I have made some great friends from different parts of the world and I’m still maintaining communication with them.”

Supervisor comments:

“Vivian is a great asset to our school,” said Cindy Waddell, Sheppard Elementary principal. “She goes above and beyond what is required and has a passion for students.”

“She is professional, she collaborates well with all of the school community, and we are blessed to have her as a part of Team Sheppard.”