Jazzmyn Williams

Visalia Adult School

Nominated in 2024

Williams Jazzmyn’s Story: Jazzmyn credits Adult Education with restoring her sense of hope. She grew up believing that the ability to learn was unavailable to her. She always knew that her parents loved her, but their pattern of ongoing financial instability resulted in continually pulling up stakes, changing schools midterm, and three years of homelessness left her believing that she was incapable of learning. She was, in fact, told by an early elementary school teacher that she hadn’t retained anything at all from his classroom. She took those words to heart. By the time she got to her first high school, she was so withdrawn and tired from being in new schools so frequently that she found herself just going from class to class, staring at the teacher and thinking that school was just not for her. Her highly sensitive nature, combined with the trauma of chronically insecure housing, left Jazzmyn unable to adapt to the rigors of education. Like so many children who fall through the cracks of our education system, she blamed herself. She lost hope. When she turned 18, she dropped out of school and got a job in fast-food. She and her boyfriend soon became parents. Years passed, and the pattern learned in childhood of constantly moving due to financial catastrophe continued. When Jazzmyn became a single mother of three, she heeded her inner voice’s urging to create real and lasting change for her family. With the support of her mom and grandmother, she settled in Visalia. For the sake of her children, she stayed. She spent years working at multiple low paying jobs at a time, wearing herself out, and barely keeping a roof over their heads. Jazzmyn discovered a love of working with geriatric patients when she was promoted from janitor to patient caregiver at a long-term care facility in Visalia. When that position ended during the Covid pandemic, she determined to go back to school to complete her Adult Secondary Education with the goal of becoming a CNA. Making that choice started her on a successful partnership with Visalia Adult School (VAS). In 2021, she enrolled in the Adult Basic Education (ABE) program, eventually transferring to the High School Diploma (HSD) program in May of 2023. She entered the HSD program needing just 10 credits to graduate. She worked tenaciously to master competency skills and the curriculum, ultimately completing in March of 2024. After completing HSD, she immediately enrolled in the ABE Pre-CTE program to bring her reading comprehension score up to the requisite level for our Medical programs. Jazzmyn is a great example of how Visalia Adult School successfully prioritizes student needs through personalized learning plans. HSD, ABE and HSE teachers work togetherwith an eye to fine-tuning student pathways for optimal success. That is how Jazzmyn was offered the opportunity to complete a relatively few credits to graduate with a High School Diploma, rather than continue to work through the GED program track. That pathway would likely have taken her several more years. Happily, she opted to do just that, and finished in less than a year. She looks forward to walking at our May 17th Commencement Ceremony with her family, including three beautiful children, cheering her on. She is the first High School Graduate in her immediate family – but she won’t be the last! As with every Adult Learner, Jazzmyn path to success has been full of interesting twists and turns. Armed with renewed hope and new-found belief in herself, she is ready to walk boldly into her future.
Visalia Adult School Website
http://www.vusd.org/adultschool.cfm External link opens in new window or tab.