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Awards Night Award Winners Announced

Awards Night was a tremendously exciting event again as our Award Winners and graduates were honored and celebrated by over 350 family members and friends.


This year’s award winners are as follows:

Tutor of the Year for Literacy Denise Nordell

Denise has been a volunteer tutor for the past ten years.  She did it at first to honor her father who had tutored in the jail and that was a place where she also tutored for a time.  One of her students earned her GED. Now, Denise has two students she meets with at the Modesto Library and works with one who is improving her English so she can get a better job and eventually go to college and another who is who began at a fourth grade reading level and has improved to a sixth grade level.  She researched on her own the Barton Reading and Spelling System for helping people with dyslexia and uses it to tutor a young girl at her granddaughter’s school as well has her adult student.  She also volunteers her time to help write and edit two newsletters for LearningQuest along with other marketing materials for fundraising and events.

Tutor of the Year for High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma Barbara Arney

Barbara began volunteering at the Day Reporting Center for Probation in 2011.  Since she had previously worked with at-risk youth, she was ready to accept this challenging volunteer position.  As a retired school teacher, her extensive teaching experience gave her the skill and knowledge to help students at a more basic reading level up to those preparing for the GED test.  She rarely misses either of her two days of volunteering except for vacations.  Even on vacation, she is thinking of her students and bringing back materials she thinks will make learning more relevant. One of her students recently improved her math and writing skills by four grade levels because of Barbara’s tutoring.  Without her skill and faithfulness, the Day Reporting Center program would have struggled to help students improve.  With her assistance, the program is helping students pass the GED test.

Best effort in Literacy Mary Mendez

Mary came from Mexico in 1994 — her sophomore year in high school.  She passed all her credits, but did not pass the writing proficiency test she needed for her diploma.  A few months ago, she got her GED, but decided she wanted more fluency in her communication in English and wanted to be able to help her daughters with their homework so they can succeed in school and in life.  She works very hard and her tutor who recommended her for this award said she does extra homework and constantly pushes herself to succeed.  She plans to go to college and pursue a career in IT

Most Improved in Literacy Laura Rodriguez

Laura attends the literacy program at the Adult Basic Education Center where she started attending classes in December, 2013.  She is working hard to improve her reading so she can eventually pass the GED test and provide a better life for her two daughters.  On her last test, she had improved 10 points on her assessment for reading which is a significant gain.  She is close to transferring into the GED program due to her progress and hard work.  She said she learned from her father that “if you want something, you have to go get it because no one is going to hand it to you.”

Greatest Achievement in Literacy Joan Jia

Joan came to the United States speaking some English but Mandarin was her native language.  In spite of her limitations in English, she enrolled in college courses right away but wanted to improve her English grammar and vocabulary.  She works with a tutor in our literacy program and her reading ability has improved from a 7th grade level to an 11th grade level.   She plans to become an accountant.

Best Effort in HSE Preparation Pamela Roberson

Pamela attends classes to work on her high school diploma but is still at the stage of improving her math and reading skills.  Both have gone up over 10 points which is significant. She was at first attending classes as a requirement for probation but now attends because she wants to improve her skills.  She and her son do their homework together and she’s teaching him through her example how important education is.  The obstacles she has faced to get to the life she has now were enormous and her tutors are very proud of all she has overcome and accomplished.

Most Improved in HSE Preparation Isela Cardenas

Isela moved alot in her life and by middle school, she was behind in her studies and dropped out.  However, she could not find a good job to help her family, so for the sake of her children, she came to LearningQuest to study for the Spanish GED test.  She didn’t know how to divide let alone do Algebra and Geometry.  She has now passed all her tests and has her diploma and a new job at Amazon.

Greatest Achievement in HSE Preparation Laura Soto

Laura was determined to meet her educational and life goals.  First, to get her diploma which she did by attending Spanish GED classes and the extra tutoring sessions four days a week while also being tutored in English two days a week in another LearningQuest program.  She has passed the test for her diploma, is still working on her English, got her driver’s license, volunteers at her son’s school and recently got a job.

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