Escondido Adult School
Elisa Hernandez has been attending classes at Escondido Adult School off and on since 1997. She enrolled in the English as a Second Language program at the Adult Learning Center with the hope of learning enough English to help her child in school. She also wanted to speak better English so she could earn a GED and get a job. Learning her new language seemed to come easily to Elisa. Quickly promoting through the levels from high beginning to advanced ESL, she marched toward her goals with ease.
Then life dealt her family an awful blow. Her second child, a daughter, was born with a severe facial deformity (cleft palate and a partial nose) and has required several surgeries. Defeating an initial bout of depression, Elisa's resolve to work hard to make a better life for her family grew even stronger. She now says that her daughter's ever-cheerful disposition and the unwavering strength she has shown, have taught her that she can overcome obstacles and hardship by facing them head on and persevering through them.
While attending ESL and GED classes, Elisa served as a volunteer both in her son's school and in the Escondido Adult School's preschool. Conscientious, dependable and creative, the parents of children in the program appreciated her patience and the tender care she offered their children. Unable to afford childcare on her own, Elisa depended on the free service offered by the Adult Learning Center. Without this help she believes she may not have been able to accomplish all she has. She is looked to as a role model by many of her peers—one who was able to manage not only a family, but also volunteer work and academic studies—often being called upon for assistance in understanding the language of rental agreements, medical forms, pay stubs, and bank or credit card statements.
Though her children and their welfare have always been her first priority, Elisa never lost sight of her own personal goals. Although each surgery required her to take a few weeks off from her classes, the flexibility that the adult school offered allowed her to continue with her studies from home doing assignments provided by her teacher. The open-enrollment policy meant she could always return and never feared losing her place in the classroom. This flexibility helped Elisa to excel in all her classes, despite the many surgeries and twice-weekly trips to San Diego for her daughter's therapy. She completed ESL classes, moved on to GED, and continued to excel. Earning the respect of both teachers and other students, she was selected to give the graduation speech for her class at the end of the year. Elisa continues to work toward her goals by attending ROP Business and Office Occupations classes, thanks to the flexibility of adult education.
When asked how adult education has contributed to her success thus far in life, Elisa responded: "Since I have been coming to this school, I have progressed in a lot of ways in my life. I can go anywhere and communicate with people, like the doctors and therapists that have helped my daughter. I can also help my children with their schoolwork. I now have my GED and am gaining office skills, so I can get a good job to help support my family. Most importantly, because of my teachers' encouragement and the new confidence I have in myself, I believe I am capable of reaching whatever goals I set for myself in the future."
Elisa plans to attend college to become a nurse one day, and her teachers have no doubt that she will reach that goal as well!