Coachella Valley Adult School
Born in Mexicali, Mexico, Maria (Nellie) M. Vasquez came to the United States in 1980 at the age of 25. She worked at a nursery for a few months to help her parents support the family. Nellie was the oldest of 11 children and wanted to go to school but the family could not afford it. Realizing that her English knowledge at that time was limited and to get better jobs to support her family, she would need to learn English, she started to take English as a Second Language night classes at Coachella Valley Adult School in 1981. At the same time, she worked at the Cesar Chavez Health Clinic during the day. That same year, she took GED classes to prepare for the GED test, and obtained her GED DIPLOMA.
In 1987, Nellie took an Office Skills Program at the Center for Employment Training School in Indio. After she graduated, she got a job at a physical therapy office where she worked for 10 years. This office was merged 4 times before the company laid her off. Even in the face of this adversity, Nellie was not deterred
In 1994, she returned to Coachella Valley Adult School to find out if she could register in ESL classes. The school recommended she go to College of The Desert to take advanced ESL classes. So that she could become a U.S. citizen, she also enrolled in Citizenship Classes.
In 1998, Nellie applied at Coachella Valley Unified School District. “While I was filling out an application, I wished I could be working in Personnel. I never thought I could accomplish that wish.” Nellie began in a classified substitute position, where she worked for two years. During that time, Nellie worked in a substitute position at Coachella Valley Adult School. “I felt very proud of myself.”
“With the help of education, my life changed for good. When I was working at Valley View School in 1999 during the day, I started to go to Mecca School in the evenings to help adults learn ESL by computer.
“I became a permanent employee in the district in 2000. After two years, I transferred to Elementary Education Services at the District Office. Again, after two years, I was transferred to Secondary Education in the Staff Development Department. Now, this is my second year working in Certificated Personnel Services, which I have enjoyed. I am learning different things every day.
“I just found out that Adult School is planning to have music classes which I would like to attend later because I would like to give a very good performance in church chorus one day. Right now, I am learning how to play the bass and I have played in different weddings and “quinceañeras.” I would like to teach music to adults, one day when I retire.
“It has been difficult during certain moments in my life. I have always enjoyed what I have done, in the different positions I have held. I am very happy that Coachella Valley Adult School is still helping our community and even more that it has very competent management. I thank Mr. Guillermo Mendoza for this opportunity and God bless him for all his support and help in our community. In addition, I thank Norma Rodriguez, Elementary Ed. Director, Frank Encinias, Retired Principal and Ann Reinhagen, Executive Director of Personnel Services for believing in me.