Downey Adult School
Annfrances Moreno spent much of her youth surrounded by gangs and their lifestyle. She went to school with a backpack filled with her books for learning and a box cutter for protection. When she became pregnant at sixteen, she dropped out of high school, and in 1997, living on welfare, moved to Downey.
A Downey Adult School brochure arrived in the mail one day. Annfrances saw a way to a better life. The adult school offered computer classes, but it would take money, which was something that was in short supply. That wasn’t the only issue. She also needed her children to be cared for if she was going to be able to go to school. GAIN provided the answer, so she volunteered for the program, eliminating significant obstacles from her path.
With the money and childcare issues settled, Annfrances was excited about the opportunities ahead and began taking every computer class she could. By the time she was done she was rewarded with five difficult to earn ”Master Certificates” which require a student to take several Business Career Center courses, including computers. She became so proficient that, in 1998, computer teacher, Chesty Peterson, recruited Annfrances to work as an instructional assistant in evening computer classes.
Teachers, like Chesty Peterson, were especially influential in Annfrances’ success in the program. He encouraged her to continue taking classes and get master certificates. He, along with Computer Technician Gary Stott, saw the natural ability that Annfrances had with the computers, her willingness to help other students, and her perseverance. They continually encouraged her, and provided opportunities for further development of her skills, which were not limited to the classroom.
Downey Adult School was in need of computer literate employees, and in 1999, Annfrances was asked to work in the front office. After going through the hiring process to become a classified employee, she became the TOPS Pro Technician and works with CASAS data collection at the adult school. Being off welfare, now for many years, she looks forward to eventually becoming a Senior Office Clerk. A member of the California Council for Adult Education (CCAE), Annfrances is the membership chair and has recruited over 30 classified and certificated staff. In 2000 she was the recipient of the CCAE Downey Chapter Outstanding Classified Employee award.
Because of adult education, Annfrances has overcome a life of gangs and welfare. She now successfully faces the same struggles as most people, balancing work and family life. She and her husband are raising three children of their own, as well as helping her mother raise their niece and nephew. The children are all middle school age or below, and are very demanding. This, in it’s own way, is success.