‘I never dream that I will spend rest of my half of life in America. Fortunately, on June 1, 2006, My husband applied for my son and me to come to the U.S. From that day, our lives started over and had nothing: no English, no job, no cars, and no own our home. Therefore, it was difficult for my family to stay, but we love this country and have confidence to overcome the difficulties. …my son, who was twelve years old, and I went to Santa Cruz Adult School to begin learning English in summer of 2006. … After one year, my English was in level 5, so I was able to go to Cabrillo College… I wanted to get a job as a teacher in America. I worked hard in order to keep my job … and I studied hard for reaching my goal. In 2012, I became an American Citizen and my son got into UCSC… In August of 2016, I found a job as a preschool teacher … In the meanwhile, I completed all my classes in December of 2016, and my son and I will have a ceremony and hold his BA Degree of Computer Engineering and my AS Degrees of Early Childhood Education in spring of 2017. Our dreams are coming true, so we are very excited.’
Brandon heard about our program though his IEP counselor and initially tested with his skills being in the middle school level. He worked really hard alternating between the morning and evening classes. Brandon says he owes his success in completing this GED to the one-on-one instruction he received in class, the practice tests on line and the Aztec Program that he worked on at home. He said the flexibility of a “non-traditional” blended class really worked well for him.
Born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico with only had a few years of formal education, Fily immigrated to the US in 1994 with her husband and created a beautiful family. She became an ESL student at WASCAE and went on to take citizenship classes from our school. She earned her US citizenship in 2008. She decided to take GED classes in English. She has already passed her Math test! She has been a wonderful asset to our school community by helping all the other students learn, often translating concepts in Spanish to her cohorts.
Paula came to the adult school when she realized that she would not be graduating with her class from Renaissance or from Pajaro Valley High. She was frustrated with one of our learning programs and didn’t like how long it took to complete her credits. However, she made a friend Vanessa who is also a young student working on her credits for her high school diploma. Having a friend in class encouraged her to come every day. Paula said she felt especially motivated by her mom to continue her education and when asked what advice she had for other young people working on their high school diploma, she quipped, “Don’t give up!” Paula plans on going to Cabrillo and is really interested in the “ACE” program. She is excited to start looking for part-time work with her high school diploma in hand.
Jesus came to the United States for work and education. He had taken advantage of all the educational opportunities he could while living in Mexico, and he wanted to learn more. In Santa Cruz, he found work in construction and began studying English at Santa Cruz Adult School. After four years of ESL, he enrolled in the GED night class in May of 2016. Although his English is very good, he took his GED exams in Spanish and passed easily. Taking the GED in Spanish may be a quick start for entry into Cabrillo and higher education.
Flora attended ESL classes for a year and now has a job at Head Start. This is her first paying job. Initially, she did not even have the goal of employment but after being successful in adult school, she felt confident enough to venture into gainful employment.
A student from Mexico, began at WAAE in the 1990s. Ten years later, his teacher was sitting in Dominican Hospital with her father who had suffered a heart attack. Francisco was coming on duty as his nurse for the night. In a warm reunion, he explained that the adult school had changed his life, and allowed him to gain a real profession in his new country.
Alicia is a prep technician for a cataract surgeon in his Watsonville office. She is a WASCAE graduate and utilizes her English skills on a daily basis. Her experiences at the adult school provided the foundation for her current success.
Riley began preparing for the GED exams in 2015. Without much free time; he attended as often as possible. When his friend and classmate Kenny got his GED (first- before him), Riley made bigger sacrifices to be in class to study and began passing all the exams much faster. Now he is a nationally certified Emergency Medical Technician. Next, he wants to train as an ambulance driver. The nice young man who saves your life in the future may have been our WASCAE GED graduate.
Life circumstances kept Cloey out of school early in her high school experience, but she always wanted to return to school and get her GED. When she began classes two years ago at (the then) Santa Cruz Adult School, she decided, “I’m just going to do it!” Teachers had a hard time keeping up with her quick progression. She quickly passed all but one of the GED Practice tests! Beginning in October, she added a Pharmaceutical Tech class offered in Watsonville at WASCAE to her docket and dropped to half time of the GED evening classes to accommodate her new academic requirements. This did not hamper her progress and she started passing many of her official GED tests with fantastic scores by mid-October. With all of her subjects except math completed, she spent a solid month absorbing algebra and geometry just as fast as her teachers could teach her. On November 16, she passed the final official GED math subject test thus achieving her goal of passing the GED here at the PearsonVUE Watsonville Testing Center. When asked what she plans to do next, she answered that after she finishes her Pharmacy Technician Program, she wants to take classes at Cabrillo this spring and possibly apply to a nearby university in Fall, 2017. She wants to encourage other students who are considering returning to school to, “Just start! Take the first step!” For Cloey, that was all she needed and there is no telling how far she can go from here.
When Elena was asked, “What made you want to come back to school?” She answered in a quiet musical voice, “I wanted a better job. I was self-motivated and I feel proud of myself.” Elena is a student who cannot be deterred. Language barriers will not stand in her way. For over a year and two months she worked with several teachers (Cindy, Dean, Kim and Tiffen) in the morning and evening classes to achieve her goal which happened this November 16, 2016. She now plans on looking for work that was not available to her without her GED. When she was asked “what advice she has for students who are currently studying in our program she said, “It seems like it’s really hard but if you spend the time and work hard; you’ll get it!”.
Jerene, completed her education and received her GED with Santa Cruz Adult School. She went on to work for the Santa Cruz City Schools. Her resume includes the positions of Accounting Technician, Accounting Supervisor and Director of Finance. She has since moved out of the state. She continues to work with Santa Cruz City Schools as a consultant.
“My name is Carina. Before arriving to this country, all the time I was thinking that I would like go to the United States to make money and learn English. Four years ago I arrived here in Watsonville and the situation was much more difficult than I had imagined. I needed to work hard in the fields for 2 years to get stability in this country.
After 2 years I decided to leave the fields. My husband told me, “Why?” I told him, “I want to learn English and get a better job.” He told me, “If that is your decision, OK,” and that is when I began my classes at Watsonville/Aptos Adult School. I felt very encouraged to learn a lot of English. I came to class every day for 4 hours. After one and a half months I got a job in a gas station! I felt very enthusiastic to learn more and more English. I was advised to do more. I began taking the GED classes and computer classes in the afternoon. I also started taking home videos to study in my house. Those videos helped me a lot!!
Watsonville/Aptos Adult School has been something wonderful in my life. I have met people that are very important to me. Sometimes my encouragement is down but, I remember the former students that are an example for me. I think, ‘If they can do it, so can I!’
I know that I need to do a big effort to be consistent in school. In the future I would like go to Cabrillo College. But for right now I am very happy with all of the classes offered to me at Watsonville/Aptos Adult School. I plan to begin the Introduction to Healthcare Class because in the future I want to be nurse. I hope to someday have the opportunity to go to Cabrillo RN’s program, it will be a fabulous day in my life.
I want to say thanks to the director of the school, all of my teachers, classmates, friends and my husband for encouraging me in my life and in my education. I think that school is the key for a better and successful life and with an education. We can do all!”
The Adult Education Block Grant is committed to directing our grant funds towards creating and cultivating an accessible and enhanced Adult Education learning environment in Santa Cruz County.