LAUSD/DACE - Harbor Occupational Center
Nominated in 2021
Cristina Leon has faced and overcome many obstacles in her career as a student. It was very difficult for her when she moved to California from Mexico. She felt very alone. It was hard to communicate and very frustrating. Aside from her husband and her son, she had no family here. In addition, she had no friends, no job, and no involvement in her community.
Eventually, she started to volunteer at her son's elementary school in Lomita. After four months of volunteering, the school offered her a job as a teaching assistant. She was very excited, but soon received some bad news. Unfortunately, the offer came in March 2020, right before the pandemic hit, and her job assignment was put on hold.
Even though she didn't get the job at her son's school, she stayed positive. She used the time of isolation during the pandemic to reflect on her life and what she wanted for her future. She improved her family's life by being a source of emotional support and inspiration during the pandemic, and by being a good example to her son. Happily, the job that was put on hold was offered to her again in September 2020.
In December 2020, Cristina enrolled in virtual ESL classes at Harbor Occupational Center in San Pedro. She started to improve her English immediately. Moreover, she felt more involved in the community and had a new sense of hope. She completed ESL Level 4 in March 2020 and is currently enrolled in ESL Level 5. As a result of furthering her education, she has identified an additional career goal of becoming a teacher. She has applied for the Los Angeles Unified School District's Step Up and Teach Program and is determined to get her credential and become a teacher.