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Achievement Awards and Graduation honors the perseverance of students and volunteers

With 500 family members and friends coming to celebrate, the LearningQuest Achievement Awards and Graduation event on Sept. 4 was filled with cheering, laughter and tears.  Adults who had dropped out of high school and never experienced a graduation finally got their chance.  Award winners were chosen to highlight the extraordinary achievement of some.  Sponsors were given an opportunity to have an award named after their company.  Here are our award winners honored at this celebration:

Hilmar Cheese Co.  presents

Most Improved in Literacy Award

Manuel Maciel

Manuel entered the literacy program as a non-reading adult age 46 who wanted to be able to read to his 3-year-old daughter and now reads at a sixth grade level after just over a year of study.  He was unable to use a computer, text with his phone or travel where he needed to read signs or maps.  He had to borrow movies from friends who could tell him the titles because he couldn’t read the covers.  Now he easily texts with his phone, uses the computer for email and research and recently found a video on You Tube to help him repair his car.

Farmers and Merchants Bank presents

Best Effort in LiteraFcy Award

Peo Sok

Peo has never missed a class and is always on time because of her desire to learn and achieve.  She asks for homework to do evenings and weekends and through this effort has greatly improved her ability to read and understand English.  Because her strength is math, she also helps her classmates with that subject.

Valley Farm Supply Stores, Inc. presents

Greatest Achievement in Literacy Award

Victor Espinal

Victor needed to improve reading and math skills so he could enroll in a program to prepare for the GED test and be able to meet the requirements to get a job.   When he came, his reading skills were challenged by English being his second language and needing better grammar and more vocabulary.  He also needed to learn math basics like division and fractions before moving on to higher levels.  He never gave up in spite of the challenges and took home extra work so he could move from basic education to more advanced GED studies.  He met his goal and improved his skills so he was able to graduate to the next level of classes.  He was also successful in getting a job at Bronco Winery where he now works full-time

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EJ Gallo Winery presents

Most Improved in GED Award

Fidel Banuelos

Fidel has an amazing story which started when he was incarcerated.  He made decisions which have led to him living a different kind of life now.  While he was incarcerated, though, he started the process of preparing for his GED.  When he was released, he knew he could continue his studies but had not yet found where he needed to go.  Then because he was part of a program at CrossPoint Community Church he helped set up the chairs for last year’s awards night.  That’s when he found out it was the same program he had been wanting to attend.  He got enrolled soon after and will soon be testing.

DataPath presents

Best Effort in GED Award

Christopher Barajas

Christopher  enrolled in GED classes at Stanislaus County Jail before the test changed in January and was trying to finish with the old test.  He worked hard on his studies and passed all but math.  He was set to test at the last date available in December and ended up missing it for health reasons.  Due to unforeseen delays in testing the new test at the jail, he has had to not only start over to prepare for a different test but wait to test for eight months.  He has not let that stop him and is in the process of testing because he never gave up.

Comcast  presents

Greatest Achievement in GED Award

James Windust

James was one of the first students at LearningQuest to pass the new GED test and passed all of the tests on his first try.  He did this while also working and completed the program in just four months.  His dream is to enter the Army and this was one of the steps he needed to complete that goal.

Volunteer Tutor of the Year for Literacy

Joseph Fenton

Joseph has been a volunteer tutor for the past two years for the literacy program.  HE is retired and works hard to give his students the best education possible.  He has worked with five different students, but the two he is helping right now are very dedicated and making great gains.  Both have gone up 13 points or more on their reading test scores where 3 is considered significant.   He integrates technology into the lessons and spends much time in preparing lessons and shows up a half hour early to make sure he’s ready to teach and to keep his students challenged.

Volunteer Tutor of the Year for GED

Bob Shannon

Bobhas been tutoring more than two years in the GED program.  He is able to tutor any subject which is rare to find in a GED tutor.  Students feel comfortable working with him and many can point to him as the reason they were able to successfully pass the test.   He is able to explain concepts in a way students can understand and is patient and encouraging.

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