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From Pacoima Skills Center in Los Angeles

Bonus Writing - October 2007

My children have inspired me
by Olga Rivera

     My name is Olga Rivera. When I was living in Puerto Rico I finished my high school education. At that time nobody helped me. I did it myself. My father always told me to continue and go to college, but I didn't. After high school I got married and lived in Puerto Rico with my husband for nine years. We had two children, a boy and a girl.

     When they were very young, we moved to New Jersey. I always encouraged my kids to study and my daughter really loved school. In 1976 we moved to California and my kids continued to go to school. However, I had some problems in the marriage and I got divorced in 1981. My daughter continued to be an excellent student, graduating from the university and obtaining a high position as a Director of Social Services.

     My son didn't finish high school but he took a GED test and received his diploma. Then he entered a computer class and earned a certificate to be a computer technician.    

     Now I am also continuing my education by taking English classes at the Pacoima Skills Center. I think it's my children who have inspired me to continue! It's never too late to learn and I am so proud of my children and myself too.

My mother is my mentor
by Jorge Licona

     My name is Jorge Licona and I was born in Honduras on August 12, 1979. I have five siblings. I am the youngest. I remember when I started going to school my mother always pushed me to study. I remember that I didn't like to study very much but little by little, I got my middle school diploma. After that, with my mother's help, I finished high school. I didn't go to the university because, in my country, there are not a lot of opportunities. It is very hard if your family doesn't have enough money to pay for an education. That's why, in some cases, people work hard, and after work, the go to the university at night. That is a big challenge!     

     A few years later, I came to the United States and now I can see the difference. I remember what my mother told me about education. I always remember my mother's words. I am still young and now I have started learning English as a second language. After I learn English every well, I want to get my GED and get a good job and a better future.

Three people who inspired me
by Gabino Cabral

     I would like to tell you a little story about me. My name is Gabino Cabral and I am a member of a family of 14 siblings. I was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, but I grew up in Mexico City. I started school there and I received my high school diploma there, too.

     I had three favorite teachers. The first was my first grade teacher, Mrs. Dora Ortiz. I really liked her a lot because she made the kids feel good about themselves. Another was my ninth grade teacher, Mr. Salvador Hernandez. He was a very motivating person for everyone in class. The third was my father who has inspired me up to today. He was the person who always trusted me, and the only person I totally trusted too.

     I left my beautiful country, Mexico, in 1967 and came to the USA to establish my own life and family here. Now I have two wonderful sons and a beautiful wife. We are very proud of our family.

     My youngest son, Sergio, graduated from California State University at Northridge with a business degree. My oldest son has his own business.

     My education hasn't stopped even though I have retired. I am taking classes at Pacoima Skills Center in both ESL and locksmith. I plan to get my permit and I hope to have my own locksmith business in the near future.

My dad helped me
by Erika Martinez

     My teacher told me that I have to write something about who helped me to improve my life through education. The only person I can think about is my dad. He always told me how important education is, even though he didn't have a high education. But that wasn't an obstacle for him and he tried to teach us how we could do whatever we wanted through education

     And he didn't only teach us that. He also taught us about the good things of life and about God and how important it is to help others and respect them. He told us how we can be strong, but not insensitive. My dad is one of the best persons in my life. He is my best example.

     Another thing that he always told me was if we want to be someone in this life, we have to work very hard for that.