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Alumni


A community where every adult leads a life of self-reliance and dignity


 


 

ARELY SALDANA

ESL Program

Year 2014

My name is Arely Saldana, and I am an MA student in the Psychological Science program at California State University Chico. I work as an Outreach Ambassador for the Adelante Postbaccalaureate Pipeline Program, which supports Latinx, low-income, and first-generation college students who want to pursue graduate school. I am also a research assistant at the Johnson Lab of Behavioral Economics at Chico State.

With so many experiences under my belt, it is hard to believe that I came to the United States less than ten years ago without any money or without being able to speak a word of English. I was only 18 and fresh out of high school when I left behind my tiny town in the Mexican mountain ranges to move to Visalia, CA, where I enrolled in ESL classes at VAS. I struggled. As a socially anxious teen, the idea of being in a room full of strangers speaking a language I did not understand was terrifying. Yet, that is precisely what I had to do. I attended VAS for a few months, and Instructor Motola recommended that I continue learning at the local community college. I will always be grateful for that suggestion. Thanks to the ESL classes at VAS, not only was I able to register for classes at the local community college, but I was also able to find a job as a student assistant on campus.

It has been several years since my story started. What has kept me going is the knowledge that I am paving the way for my little brother and sister, should they ever decide to follow in my steps. My advice to those who may be currently struggling or who might be looking into taking ESL classes at VAS is not to give up. Surprisingly, the hardest part is getting started, and if you start, you are already halfway there. In the beginning, it is difficult and frustrating to try to learn a new language, especially if, like me, you are struggling with social anxiety, financial problems, and even loneliness. But I promise, it does get easier, so long as you do not give up.

Arely was my ESL student in 2014. I remember that she was quiet and smart. Little by little, as she came out of her shell, her fun and engaging personality started to emerge. She went on to COS where she continued studying English. She wrote me a very sweet and kind letter letting me know that I had contributed to her learning and success. I am glad that VAS had a part in her success! I then saw that she went on to Chico State where she pursued a B.A. Most recently, I found her on LinkedIn where I read that she is finishing her M.A.! Wow! Arely continues to demonstrate steadfastness in making and achieving her goals. I know that she will be successful in anything she decides to pursue! The VAS team and I are so proud of her and all of her achievements! 

Congratulations, Arely! We at VAS wish you future success in anything that you choose to pursue!

ESL & Spanish GED instructor, Sarah Motola

GRACIE HAUK

Vocational Nursing Program

Year 2022

The program I completed at Visalia Adult School was the Vocational Nursing program. I was looking to further my career and I had already been a Certificated Nurse Assistant (C.N.A.). I wanted a program that would utilize my skills as a CNA and the Visalia Adult School program did just this. What I enjoyed the most about the VN program is that I had the opportunity to help our community. I was able to participate with my classmates in vaccine clinics and getting the opportunity to volunteer and spend time helping others. My mother and younger brother have both been huge motivators in my life. They give me the continuous support to continue pursing my goals. Mrs. Glaspie, our VN coordinator made sure our clinical groups obtained super hands on experience and made sure we were confident in our techniques. 

I value experiences. Experiences have made my nursing journey all more meaningful. I want to help give someone a good experience in a situation that might not be ideal for them. I am currently at Porterville College continuing my prerequisites for a LVN-RN bridge program and am hoping to be in a program by 2024.

If you're thinking of attending the Visalia Adult School, make the most of it. Volunteer, make friends and prioritize your learning and take as many opportunities as you can.

Gracie Hauk is one of the youngest students in the VN Classroom and is mature beyond her years. Gracie consistently displays a positive attitude and energetic spirit. Gracie has a heart for community service and generously volunteers her time to assist in various vaccine clinics and other activities by putting in extra hours. Gracie is eager to meet the needs of her community, peers and the VN program. One of the assets Gracie brings to our program is her ability and willingness to provide interpreter/translation services for our Spanish speaking patients. At a recent volunteer community event, it was unusually busy and Gracie spent 5 hours facilitating communication with out taking a break or giving one single injection. She placed the needs of her patients above her desire to give vaccines. Gracie displays all the characteristics of a compassionate and competent  nurse! Gracie was the very first student in her class of 50 students to take and successfully pass her NCLEX (nursing license) exam!                                                           

Gracie is officially a Licensed Vocational Nurse and has already been hired as a LVN at Kaweah Health in Visalia! Many kudos and well wishes for Gracie! She has set the standard and is a shining example in our community! 

VN Coordinator, Joyce Glaspie


 

IMELDA MARTIN

GED, Medical Assistant, Microsoft Excel, Google Basics and Certificated Nurse Assistant Program

Year 2022

There are many programs that I completed and participated in at the Visalia Adult School. I simply walked into the main office to ask questions and learned about all their programs. I started my experience at VAS in the GED program, from there I moved into the Medical Assistant program, Microsoft Excel, Google Basics and lastly Certificated Nurse Program in 2022. 

What I enjoyed the most about the programs at Visalia Adult School is that I was able to enjoy the experience and learn new things. I learned so much about health care. This is one of the reasons why if I had to pick my spirit animal, it would be a lion; I protect my family and the people I care for. 

My kids have the greatst impact on who I have become today. I want to show them that no matter what age you are and what your dreams may be, that with hard work and perseverance, you can accomplish anything you want. I want them to be proud of me and know that it was not easy working and going to school but that I never gave up on my goals.  My values are to be compassionate, respectful, honest and treat others as you wish to be treated. 

I want to thank Visalia Adult School for the programs they have and their AWESOME Teachers. Thank you for everything! Recently I got hired as a CNA at a hospital. I'm going to work, gain experience and work towards becoming a LVN or RN! 

For anyone interested in pursuing a program at VAS, just go for it. its never too late to start your education.

Imelda is wonderful, very ambitious and kind. She was always enthusiastic about learning. I am so excited to hear about her new journey as a CNA and wish her all the best on this next career move.

GED Instructor, Mona Peracca


 

Juan Carlos Calderon

ESL and Citizenship Student 

Year 2019

The Visalia Adult School program was excellent to learn about the citizenship and it was recommended to me by a friend. What I enjoyed most about the program was the way I was able to interact with classmates and the teacher. My goal was to become a citizen and improve myself more and more everyday in this country. I consider my animal spirit a lion because a lion is a symbol of strength and courage and also symbolizes power and personal determination. My family and friends have the greatest impact on shaping who I am today. My values are what my parents instilled in me; To be a good citizen and a good father of family. For anyone that is is thinking about attending Visalia Adult School, my suggestion is to go VAS. I recommend it. It is a very good school to learn English and to help you obtain your citizenship. VAS has very good staff and teachers.

Juan Carlos a.k.a. The Fly entertained us all in (ESL) class. What would mostly be considered a "distraction" in other classes (his jokes and funny stories) actually worked well in ESL; when his fellow students "got" his jokes and understood his stories that signaled to me that their English was improving! In fact, his storytelling and comfortable way of speaking in English encouraged others to do the same. Thanks to Juan Carlos we learned English AND we had fun, too. 

After ESL, Juan Carlos went on to the citizenship class. He was a serious student expressing a real interest in learning the material. As a busy restaurant owner and father, he still made the commitment to attend class even with his many obligations. He is smart and determined hence I am proud but not at all surprised that he achieved his goal of becoming a citizen. Congratulations on your achievement of citizenship, Juan Carlos!

Teacher, Sarah Motola


 

Cesar Vasquez

Spanish GED (High School Equivalency)

Year 2019

I found the GED program in Spanish by approaching the Visalia adult school. Honestly, what I enjoyed the most was meeting people with the same vision as me, since we were only looking to achieve our goal of being able to obtain our GED certificate. Even so, after being able to obtain this goal, the dreams did not stop there. I continued looking for opportunities to feel even more successful in my goals, my options were higher after obtaining my GED. I am a person of Faith and I consider my animal spirit to be like the eagles since I was born to fly high and even more so since God drives me. My children and wife are definitely the pillars that drive me to be a better person, since I want to set this example so that my children can see the goals they set for themselves can be achieved. The values ​​that mark my life are: Faith, Family and honesty. After graduating and obtaining my GED certificate, it gave me security and I felt able to choose what job I wanted to be in, since situations were no longer going to decide for me. To those who are reading this and are studying to get their GED to continue dreaming; The sky is the limit, set goals, live the opportunities that are presented to us and if one door closes there are 3 or 4 more open.

Traduccion Español 

El programa de GED en español lo encontré acercándome a preguntar en la escuela de adultos de Visalia. Honestamente lo que más disfruté fue encontrar personas con la misma visión que yo, ya que solamente buscábamos alcanzar nuestro objetivo el poder obtener nuestro certificado de GED. Aún así después de poder obtener este objetivo los sueños no quedaron ahí seguí buscando oportunidades paras sentirme aún más exitoso en mis objetivos, mis opciones fueran más altas teniendo de mi lado mi educación que acababa de concluir (Mi GED).  Soy una persona de Fe y mi espíritu animal lo considero como las águilas ya que nací para volar alto y más aún ya que Dios me impulsa. Definitivamente mis hijos y esposa son los pilares para impulsarme a ser mejor persona, ya que quiero poner este ejemplo para que mis hijos puedan ver que los objetivos que se propongan se pueden alcanzar. Los valores que marcan mi vida son: La Fe, La familia y honestidad. Después de egresar y obtener mi certificado de GED me dio seguridad y sentirme capaz de poder escoger en qué trabajo quería yo estar, ya las situaciones no iban nunca más a decidir por mi. Yo exhortó a cada unos de los que me puedan leer y están cursando para poder obtener su GED sigan soñando que el límite es el cielo, propónganse metas vivan las oportunidades que se nos presentan y si una puerta se cierra hay 3 o 4 más que se abren.

From the very first meeting, his participation was delightful by sharing his knowledge and experiences in life.  His politeness was very noticeable since day one.  Despite all adversities, he never missed a meeting showing enthusiasm to the other students and he demonstrated to be a positive influence in the classroom, he was serious about graduation.  His smile and attitude were contagious, creating a fabulous learning environment. Very soon he started showing determination and he was scheduling exams, studying very intensively, struggling, but he never let himself down. He kept ongoing. He graduated from VAS. Cesar is an inspirational story of overcoming adversity.

Teacher, Patricia Margni