With little talk of higher education in his household, Juan Flores dropped out of school at the age of 14. Ten years later, he took the first step in turning his life around by earning his high school diploma at Vista Adult School.
He didn’t stop there. Juan then transferred to Palomar College where he earned an Associates Degree in sociology and psychology. Still motivated to continue his educational journey, he has applied to 8 universities, of which UC Berkeley has already offered him admission.
As Poway Adult School opened its doors for students finishing up their high school diplomas, one student was an instant stand out. Rodney Lacanienta showed a confidence and eagerness that most other students lacked.
Kathleen Porter, Executive Director for Career Technical, Adult and Alternative Education for Poway Unified School District remembers being inspired by his joyful smile right away. “This happens every day the learning center is open, rain or shine,” said Porter. “It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when the dedication to learning and perseverance to succeed was not his number one priority.”
While thousands of students across the country are preparing to receive their high school diplomas in the coming weeks, for one recent graduate, her educational journey took a bit different and a bit longer path.
When Paula was 17, she left high school to work full-time to help her single mother provide for her eight siblings. Soon after, she started her own family, and as life happens, she continued on, always dreaming of one day receiving her degree.
In 2015, a family in Ramona experienced a tragic loss. Yolanda lost her husband, and her daughter, Thalia, lost her father.
After her husband’s passing, Yolanda struggled to find a job to support her daughter. Without a high school diploma, her options were limited. She did the best she could as a single mother, but it was becoming increasingly hard to make ends meet at home.
Dulce Trejo Robles never forgot the kind and caring nurses at the hospital when she had her son, and she never stopped thinking about going into the healthcare field one day.
When her son was eight and she felt she had more time to pursue her education, Dulce began to look into what program options were available. After receiving a pamphlet in the mail from Poway Adult School, she discovered the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Training Program.
For about 30 new students starting the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) program at Escondido Adult School, the holidays have come early thanks to a grant from the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP). Escondido Adult School was one of only two recipients in the county to receive a Contracted Education grant from SDWP, which will pick up all program costs for qualifying students.
When Marcela Gomez was 16 years old, she came to California on what she thought was just a vacation to visit family. But when her family told her they were staying permanently and not returning to Mexico, Marcela was shocked, sad, and afraid.
At her new high school in Vista, she was placed in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program because she did not speak any English. Marcela took a part-time job where most of the workers spoke Spanish, which was a comfort to her, but she knew this was not what she dreamed of doing with her life. In order to be successful in the United States, Marcela needed to push herself to improve her English and do well in school.