Clovis Adult Education
Nominated in 2020
For Crystal Espinoza, raising a baby as a teen was not an easy thing to do, especially while she was still trying to finish high school and working a part-time job. The stress of being a new mother and working meant that she had to drop out of school to raise her child.
Becoming a teenage mother was a life-changing experience. Crystal had to quickly grow up and become a responsible parent for her child. Working a minimum wage job made her realize that she wanted to attend cosmetology school. This was something she was very passionate about and thought would help pay her bills and support her child. Crystal was able to attend cosmetology school at the age of 19. She completed the program by the age of 20. She started her career as a stylist and also worked a second job so that she could support her family. All the while, she still dreamed of earning her high school diploma and was determined not to give up on that dream.
Like many people, Crystal had been through some very difficult times in her young life: becoming a teen parent, marriage at a young age, suffering from domestic violence for almost 10 years, going through a divorce, and losing family members, including one of her own children.
Overcoming all of these things made her realize that going back to school and earning her high school diploma was something that she could accomplish. So she took the chance and enrolled at Clovis Adult Education in 2017.
Crystal quickly realized that she needed to make some adjustments to her schedule. She needed to multitask and remain flexible while juggling school, work, and family. She was determined and kept the motivation she needed to stay in school, work, and still make time to be a great mom. Crystal didn’t let anyone or anything get in the way of the goal of earning her high school diploma. She faced many difficult decisions and knew she needed to remain focused, more so than ever before in her life.
While at Clovis Adult Education, Crystal was a leader and role model student. She encouraged others to not give up and reach their goals. All of her teachers said she was such a positive and inspirational student who was determined to follow her dreams. Crystal felt that the Clovis Adult faculty and staff supported and encouraged her throughout the process. They equipped her with the tools she needed to have in order to be successful, not only in academics but in life.
Crystal is now attending Fresno City College and plans on transferring to Fresno State to earn her bachelor’s degree in education and a special education teaching credential. Having a son who is in special education inspired her to work towards a degree in that field. Crystal is looking forward to working with students in special education and becoming even more of an advocate on her son’s behalf.
Crystal attained her initial goal of earning her high school diploma; it’s now time for her to chase new goals. She is working on completing her degree and becoming a teacher. Crystal believes in giving back to the community by working with children with special needs. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams and Crystal is one of those people.
Crystal was a class speaker at the Clovis Adult Education Graduation of 2018. She was also the recipient of the AT&T-Central California Women's Conference-TRiO scholarship. Crystal was recently hired as an instructional aide for the special education department in Clovis Unified School District. She is working with elementary aged children with special needs.