Bakersfield Adult School
When she started taking classes at the Bakersfield Adult School, Rita Valdovinos did not speak English at all. In spite of this, and with the encouragement of her teachers, Rita is well on her way to reaching her life goals. “Bakersfield Adult School gave me my ticket to a better future,” says Valdovinos.
When she started classes, thirteen years ago, Rita Valdovinos was a divorced mother struggling to meet the needs of her child. But she kept hoping things would get better. Rita saw education as the way to a better life, but her family discouraged her from going to school. Believing education as the only way to improve her life, Rita continued attending classes, sometimes borrowing money for books and bus fare.
Soon, Rita remarried, expecting her life would get better. Instead, her situation worsened. Her new husband was opposed to Rita continuing her education, believing she should stay home with her children or go to work in the fields. Against his wishes, Rita continued to go to school.
One day, Rita’s ESL teacher approached her with the possibility of earning a high school diploma. Rita couldn’t imagine how she would accomplish this. “Look,” she said, “I have two children, a husband who does not want me to come to school, I do not know the language well and I do not have any high school credits. How do you even think I can get there?” But her teachers believed in her and encouraged her follow through.
After earning her diploma, Rita started working as a staff writer for a Spanish newspaper. She continued going to school eventually earning an Office Clerk Certificate and was then hired by the Bakersfield Adult School as a Bilingual Clerical Specialist. Rita says, “My life began to change. My family life changed. I was able to help support our family. My husband has changed. He respects me more, and life has gotten better for us.”
Although the road had been difficult, Rita’s rewards have been great. She has overcome obstacles to reach her goals and has become a success. Rita is currently enrolled at Bakersfield College and hopes to attend California State University, Bakersfield where she will train to be a teacher and a student counselor. “My dream is to work with students. I want them to be successful and do what I can to contribute to their success,” says Rita.