Eureka Adult School
It was 1996, and after many bad choices and a bad relationship, Tina found herself depressed and in a rut. She and her young son were back living at home with Tina’s mother who was praying for Tina to do something with her life. She had tried college, sometimes dropping out after repeating familiar patterns brought on by low self-esteem. Tina says that she was the victim of self-sabotage. After several false starts, something clicked and Tina was ready to make a difference in her life.
Tina knew she had to do something. She was a single mother with a young son to care for, and she wanted so much more for him than she was capable of providing on welfare. So she decided she wanted to get a job and get off welfare. Afraid to jump right into the job market she chose to improve her job skills by enrolling in the Computer Operator Business Applications (COBA) program at Eureka Adult School. In January 1996 she was placed on a waiting list, and by February was called to join the class. Because she had some computer experience in high school and in previous jobs, Tina was placed in the advanced COBA II class. She admits to being a little shaken when she found out she would be taking a timed typing test on day one, but she had taken the first step and was not going to let herself fall victim to self-sabotage this time.
Tina earned several certificates working her way through the COBA II curriculum. Her confidence grew, and her teacher, Carolyn Joyce and classroom aide were always helpful, encouraging and complimentary. Nurturing is how Tina describes Ms. Joyce. From the moment that she met Tina, Ms. Joyce knew she had a star student. And Tina remembers feeling that finally everything was going to be okay. Tina said that they seemed to know exactly what she needed, and it wasn’t very long before Tina was helping other students in the class. In September of her first year at Eureka Adult School, Tina was made editor of the school newsletter, and participated in the Career Clothes Closet.
Her confidence renewed, Tina applied for a temporary job working with the elections office. Returning to school after her interview the School's Assistant Director called her out of class. The school needed a substitute clerk in the office, she was told, and Ms. Joyce had recommended Tina. There was no doubt in Ms. Joyce's mind that Tina was the perfect candidate for the job. That was October 1996, and Tina has worked at Eureka Adult School ever since.
Tina continued to take adult education classes while working part-time for the adult school. In 1998 she received the Soroptimist's International Training Award for re-entry women, and in 2002 she graduated from College of the Redwoods with an Associate's Degree in Technical Preparation. Once describe by her teacher as a “diamond in the rough,” it was now said that Tina sparkled.
"Tina is the glue of the office at Eureka Adult School," says Director Kim Kellenberg. "Her cheerful attitude, giving spirit, and contagious laugh draw students and staff to her. Everyone knows they can depend on Tina to get a job done with a smile. She is known as the office cheerleader! She has the unique ability to recognize each of our students as 'diamonds in the rough.' Having realized her own potential, she is able to empower others to realize their dreams."
Tina's job duties have steadily grown and increased in responsibility. She is now the full- time finance clerk and is responsible for designing and printing 8,000 brochures four times a year. Tina looks forward to new and exciting challenges everyday. Tina would like to complete her B.A. degree and possibly get a teaching credential. Becoming an Adult Education student gave Tina the confidence and an avenue to grow both personally and professionally. Her son is now 16 years old and is an aspiring Jazz musician. Tina realizes that it is the good choices that she made, and the fact that someone recognized her amazing potential nine years ago, that makes it possible to provide her son with a home, music lessons and equipment for him to be able to realize his dreams.
"No longer a diamond in the rough," says Director Kellenberg, "Tina shines!"