Manuel Angulo

Garden Grove Adult School

Nominated in 2023


A Journey of Adversity and Perseverance: From a Small Ranch in Mexico to Achieving Dreams in the United States

I never envisioned myself residing in the United States. My name is Manuel Angulo Vizcarra, I was born on a small ranch called El Palmarejito, located in the state of Durango, Mexico. At the young age of two months, I was afflicted with a disease that presented with high fever and seizures, preventing me from walking at the appropriate developmental stage. To provide me with specialized medical care, my family decided to move to a village called Tamazula, where I could receive therapy and proper education, as there were greater opportunities for schooling there.

After seven years of treatment without significant progress, my father decided to take me to Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, to see specialists. Upon arriving there, we were fortunate to meet a man who was interested in my case and who knew of a foundation that assisted people with similar needs to mine. This foundation organized visits from specialists from the United States to Tijuana, Mexico, where I was treated for a year. 

Subsequently, the doctors concluded that I should be transferred to Shriners Hospital in Los Angeles, which allowed me to receive medical treatment in the United States in 2008 for five years. During that time, we faced various challenges, such as having to travel constantly and leaving our family for long periods, as well as missing the opportunity to complete elementary school. 

In 2013, my father made a difficult decision, which involved staying in the United States to provide me with a better quality of life and greater opportunities. Thanks to my social worker, I was able to continue receiving therapy until I turned 21. In addition, my father and my social worker motivated me to continue my studies and she recommended Jordan Secondary Learning Center, where I began my studies in 2015. 

In this school, I learned to be more independent and self-sufficient, as well as to perform voluntary work in various places, such as the El Dorado Regional Park, Mark Twain School, Rancho Alamitos High School, and Donald S. Jordan Intermediate School. In 2016, my teacher encouraged me to take English classes at Lincoln Education Center, which allowed me to graduate from Jordan Secondary Learning Center in December 2017. As well as English classes for five years as well as attending a writing bridge class to Santa Ana College. 

After completing my English classes in 2021, I made the bold decision to pursue my high school diploma. With a determined spirit, I enrolled in a GED/HiSET preparation course, only to realize that the road to success was far more arduous than I had initially envisaged. I was met with challenges at every turn, and there were moments when I felt overwhelmed and defeated. Despite the setbacks, I refused to give up, and after a year of unwavering commitment and hard work, I emerged victorious with my high school diploma in hand. 

Currently, I am taking a Business Office Technology Certification class which is a useful certification for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in an office setting and want to enhance their skills and knowledge in this area. The requirements for the certification depend on the program but typically include completing coursework and passing a final exam. 

Though my journey at Garden Grove Adult Education has been fraught with moments of despair and the desire to quit, I have been blessed with remarkable teachers who have steadfastly pushed me forward. Despite the hurdles, their unwavering support has propelled me to persevere, and today, I stand tall, proud of my achievements and the progress I have made.

With the fire of determination burning bright within me, I am committed to acquiring my Business Office Technology Certification in the near future. Armed with this certification, I am confident that I will secure a stable employment position, and with each passing day, I will amass the financial resources required to pave my path to independence. I stand resolute in my pursuit of success, and nothing will deter me from achieving my goals.

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