Visalia Adult School
Often it is the tragic events of life that motivate us beyond what we have always known, what we have always done, and push us to be what we never imagined. At only 46, Luisa Ramirez suffered the greatest of personal tragedies, the death of a beloved spouse. Her husband’s accidental death in 2000 motivated Luisa to pursue goals that she confesses she might not have otherwise considered. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, she was left with difficult decisions about the rest of her life. “I had the choice,” she says, “to be bitter or to be better.” She chose better and, at the age of 49, enrolled in Visalia Adult School’s Vocational Nursing Program.
Luisa had been a homemaker, a mother of four, and a home day care provider. After 15 years of providing day care, taking care of others had become a part of her everyday life, and so it only seemed natural that she would seek to be better by choosing a career that would allow her to express her life. Touching lives is what Luisa is about, and she reasoned that she could touch more lives, more deeply as a nurse than in any other field.
Starting over is never easy. For many it can be very frightening and, for Luisa, at 49 it was terrifying. Setting her fears aside, Luisa explored some options, and using the Internet found Visalia Adult School and their nursing program. They were accepting 35 new students into the program – 200 applied, including Luisa. She made it to the top sixty chosen for an interview, but feared her age might disqualify her from the program. Her fear was never realized as she was accepted into the program. She is quick to tell others, “It’s never too late in life to learn,” and after a year and a half of study, Luisa graduated from the Visalia Adult School Vocational Nursing Program on April 1, 2004.
Luisa now works as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) for Tulare City Schools. She gives credit for her success and her ability to overcome tragedy to her teachers at VAS who encouraged her and never gave up on her during the hard times. “The teachers are wonderful,” she says. “Great teachers; encouraging everyone to keep going.”
Asked what advice she could give to those contemplating adult education, Luisa enthusiastically says, “To go! I was 49 when I started – and if I learned, you can too.”