Sharon Czapinski

Azusa Adult School


Three years ago, Sharon Czapinski wasn't finding many answers to the question that bothered her most, "What am I going to do with my life?" High school graduation was followed by earning an AA degree at a community college, but a sense of direction was nowhere to be found. At age 23 she was still living at home, working in junior management at a fast food restaurant and really searching. A family member mentioned the availability of career and technical training through adult school, her ears perked up, she set a goal for herself of becoming a Hospital Ward Clerk, and crafted a plan of action.

The program that would best fit her needs was located at Azusa Adult School, 200 miles from home, which meant packing up and moving, by herself, to a new community. In the fall she enrolled full time in a program that would have her prepared for a new career in less than 18 months. While this seems easy to most of us, Sharon was faced with the challenge of a profound hearing deficiency which had made it necessary for her to rely on double hearing aids, interpretive tutors, and note takers in her previous educational experiences. Up to now she had consistently been able to rise above the multifaceted effects of Turner’s syndrome, a chromosomal condition that exclusively affects girls and women. It occurs when one of the two X chromosomes normally found in females is missing or incomplete. One of its common characteristics is hearing and ear disturbances. Sharon had out-performed multiple medical expectations to surface as an eager and determined young woman.

Though she was still a little unsure of herself, Sharon was ready to move into technical career training and the professional world on her own. She embraced the program content from the outset with a focused and positive attitude and determination to succeed. She had to study harder than most, but repeatedly turned in winning grades. Sitting at the front of the class, she listened intently and took all of her own notes. Her mother's devoted support and relentless oral drill on medical terms undoubtedly contributed to her success.

Sharon concurrently enrolled in an ECG Certificate class that would greatly enhance her marketability and continued to work in order to maintain her new lifestyle of apartment living and to pay for gas. Her parents and grandmother helped with registration and books, and before she knew it she had completed both programs, an externship, and was the featured speaker at the pinning ceremony for her class. For the externship, her teacher, Brenda Horne, arranged for Sharon to be placed with a Ward Clerk who also had a hearing deficiency.

Sharon's success story doesn't end here. Not only does she now have her independence, but also a new job. After completing a Career Development certificate program, instructor Sharon Steinbring helped her prepare a quality resume and cover letter, practice interview skills and began her job search. Sharon is now a beaming employee of Kaiser Permanente with excellent pay and benefits. Enthusiastic cheers for her success could be heard throughout the entire office at the news that Sharon had landed a position. Her hard work and determination to “tough it out” paid off in the form of a new career and a new found life purpose.

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