Written Stories 2006 continued...
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On Wednesday, February 1, our group of 13 PCAE students and staff made an excellent educational visit to the Arizona Legislature. On this trip, we
- Learned about how the State Government is structured and how it works
- Learned about some bills that the House and Senate have proposed this session
- Learned how to have individual meetings with legislators to learn about their priorities and tell about our lives and values
- Met with individual legislators, including Reps. Peter Hershberger, Tom Prezelski, Cheryl Chase, Phil Lopes, and Martha Garcia
- Were introduced by name to the House of Representatives by Rep. Lopes, and to the Senate by Sen. Toni Hellon
- Visited the Arizona Capitol Museum
- Talked about how we can share our experiences with others, and what we can do to stay involved
- Beatriz Zamora (El Pueblo-Liberty Spanish GED)
- Mike Cobos (El Pueblo-Liberty ABE and Student Council)
- Carol Makel (Eastside GED, Magazine Class, and Student Council)
- Elvira Bozhani (El Rio GED and Student Council)
- Jezzelyn …. (El Rio GED and Student Council)
- Maria Mendivel (El Rio GED and Student Council)
- Bill Law (El Rio Student Council and Civics AmeriCorps)
- Irene Amavizca (Civics AmeriCorps)
- Adam Hostetter (Community Programs)
- Regina Suitt (Community Programs)
- Jennifer Nowicki (Civics/Citizenship Program)
- Robert Ojeda (Civics/Citizenship Program)
Miss Emma & Sophia - LVMC
Submitted by Sue Inman –LVMC-West Lab
Miss Emma came to us in July of 2003 She was fifty-eight years old and Pre-Lit on her entrance test. She was very nervous and shaking and promptly told me, with tears in her eyes, that she could only read ‘kiddy garden stuff.’
We reassured her and put her on a phonics program called ‘Lexia.’ Six weeks later we tested her again, but not without many tears of protest. Fortunately, one of our gifted teachers was able to calm her down and assure her that no matter how she did, we would not send her away. Her TABE score grade equivalent was 5.0. She loved it!
Emma continued to study and moved into New Century. In June of 2004 she came in very excited. She was finally able to read enough to pass the written portion of the driving test and get her drivers license. The following month she got her Food Handlers Permit--all because she could read.
Sophia came in as an ELA student in August of 2004. She was a determined student and soon tested out of the BEST and into ABE at Level II. Over the next year, she felt forced to go to work because of her parent’s health and her family’s needs. Nevertheless, her language skills and reading skills continued to improve.
She did not tell us what was happening at work until July of 2005. One day while we were sharing experiences, with excitement in her eyes, she told the following story.
In December of 2004 there was an opportunity for training and advancement at work. She went to her supervisor and told her she wanted the training. The supervisor hemmed and hawed and attempted to discourage her because of her English. Sophia stood her ground and said, “I’m try!” Again, the supervisor attempted to discourage her. Again, she said, “I’m try!” Three months later a surprised supervisor came to her and said, “Ok Sophia, you got the job. You are the top scoring student in the class.”
Sophia went along doing that new job until November of 2005, without the title or the pay increase. After being stalled by her supervisor, she went over her head to the manager and confronted him. She got her title and pay increase. Since then she has had to stand up for herself and confront negative attitudes and accusations. She has done it with grace and empowering dignity. It has been an honor to be part of her continuing desire to learn and improve.
Travis, Kyle, Nina, Jon, Selma, Humberto, Beatriz
Teaching Adult Ed 2/06
Victory Education can give me the opportunities to understand more English and advance as a person. I think my first goal is to break the language barrier then continue and obtain the diploma GED. After I get my GED, I want to go to college and exert my profession in computer and in a future make enterprise.
When I arrived in the United States , I know what my first problem is; the English.
I remember that when I arrived, I didn’t know how to ask for orange juice. I felt that I needed to learn basic English.
Now I know my first barrier is to learn English, and Victory Education gives me opportunities to obtain a diploma GED because I need to have more options of work for myself and my family. I went to work with computers because my profession in Mexico is programmer computer.
I need to complete my college in the United States for computer systems. I think that we learn more about computers in this country.
I expect to work with computers and practice my profession in this country to have a better life with my family.
I have the hope that in the future I can make an enterprise to help many people to obtain their dreams and Victory is the beginning for this accomplishment.
Katie Williams - LEARN Student, Tucson
I just turned sixteen when I dropped out in my freshman year. I had gotten into a fight with a girl at the high school, and they suspended me for one hundred forty-five days. I went to a program called ACE, but in the process of getting transferred back to high school, my learning just disappeared. I was too cool to repeat ninth grade. No way!
I didn’t need my parent’s permission, and I dropped out. That was the biggest mistake of my life.
When I was incarcerated last April, my probation officer told me the terms of my probation was to get my GED in the Pima County Jail or get it when I got released in July. I tried taking it in jail, but it was hard. The classroom was as big as my cell with twelve students and one teacher. I started the LEARN program when I got out. I like the teachers, and I feel I working more on my level. I’m not treated like a little kid. It’s easy to come to school.
A GED will make a tremendous difference in my life. For even flipping burgers at Burger King, I need a GED. It is something I have to do for myself. I told myself I was going to get a high school diploma. A GED will give me back my self-confidence. I’ll be able to say, “I’m just as good as everyone else.” I’ve been trying since age seventeen, and I’m twenty-five now. This time I have family support and come to LEARN with my niece.
I’d like to say to everyone, “Stay in school!”
From Mug Shot to Graduation Picture
A Picture of Success
This past year we had a rather rough looking female student come to the Learning Center to enroll in our adult education program. She was unsmiling and appeared anxious and angry but said she wanted to start classes so she could her GED. Little did we know that in this same woman there was a contagious smile and warm spirit just waiting for an opportunity to surface and spread among students and staff. And this happened almost from the first day of class. To protect her identity, we will call this student Veronica.
Although she was a young person, the trail of Veronica’s past was littered with drug use, gang-related activity, violence, and prison. She showed us a picture of her “mug shot” and there was no doubt that this woman was no one to mess with. Yet, something happened inside herself after she was released from prison and she began to make choices that moved her out of that dark past and into a bright future. Completing her education was one such choice. So, while finishing her parole, she came to us with the clear goal of achieving her high school equivalency diploma, and she did just that.
Veronica had a winning attitude and a smile that was contagious. She related to students as a quiet, wise leader and to staff as an open book eager to learn and to succeed. Through Rio Salado’s Transition Program she was awarded a scholarship and began taking classes at Estrella Mountain Community College. In an English class, students were assigned to write a paper about themselves. After reading Veronica’s work, her instructor called the Learning Center coordinator to express her gratitude for what we were able to provide for Veronica during her time with us.
Veronica’s goal is to obtain a degree in criminal justice. Her intention is to work within others who, like herself, need a chance to change their life.
Next to her mug shot she now has a picture of herself in graduation cap and gown. A picture of success!