Juan Carlos Sanchez

Culver City Adult School


Born in Colombia in 1970, Juan Carlos (JC) Sanchez went to work at age eight, making it impossible for him to attend school. In 1991 he came to this country and worked hard in marble restoration to earn a living. As opportunities presented themselves, he decided to take advantage of them and get the education he had missed as a child. He first enrolled in English as a Second Language, then in a high school diploma program. As JC himself says "…like most immigrants to the United States I believe in the American Dream. I believe that through hard work and dedication I will be able to achieve all my goals and attain all my dreams."

JC entered the Culver City Adult School Independent Learning Center in February of 1999. His goal was to earn a high school diploma, a decision that impacted the direction of the rest of his life. During the time that he attended the school, he discovered a real love of learning, and in his second year began tutoring his peers in the courses he had already taken. While tutoring these other students, he realized he wanted to pursue education as a career so that he could "make a difference in people's lives." He earned his high school diploma, and in June of 2001 graduated as Salutatorian of his class.

From the beginning JC impressed the staff with his dedication, enthusiasm for learning, and work ethic. He was such a positive addition to the learning center that after graduation he was encouraged to apply for a position as a teacher's aide. He was hired in January, 2002 and has been an integral part of the Culver City Adult School staff ever since. JC relates well with the students, in large part because he was a student himself such a short time ago. He remembers the challenges and difficulties he faced while trying to juggle a busy schedule of school, work and family. He is a positive role model for students, often sharing his college experiences with them, and encouraging them to continue and press on toward their own dreams and goals.

For the past two years JC has been attending West Los Angeles College where he is current president of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society. Again he has excelled, maintaining a 3.8 GPA and making the Dean’s Honor Roll every semester. He has been on the President's Honor Roll three times, and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society . Working toward his goal to become a teacher, JC is in the process of transferring to a 4-year university, hoping to begin in the fall of 2004.

Juan Carlos maintains a balance in his life between school, work and personal responsibilities. His first child, a boy, was born February 11, 2004, and he continues to help support his family back in Colombia. Nothing will stop JC from attaining the goals he has set for himself. "Transferring to and graduating, from a four-year college will allow me to be the first person in my family to graduate from college," says JC. "I want to become a role model for all my nieces and nephews and make a difference in the life of my wife and child. It will also enable me to make a difference in young people's lives, and since I plan on pursuing a Master's in Special Education, I hope to make a difference for those children who are most disadvantaged." He continues to work at the Independent Learning Center and plans to transfer to Cal State LA in the fall of 2004.

JC has this advice for others seeking to fulfill their dreams. "Manage your time with caution, for it is crucial in achieving the ultimate goals (whatever yours are), and never look back until you're done." It is obvious when speaking to JC how excited he is about school and his success in pursuing his goals. He brings that excitement and enthusiasm to work with him every time he steps into the Independent Learning Center classroom. Students and staff are lucky to have him working at Culver City Adult School.