Never too late to realize the dream of college
Love brought Erica Gomez to the U.S. 16 years ago. Her childhood sweetheart had immigrated to California and he missed her terribly. A high school graduate in her hometown of Medallin, Colombia, Erica worked in a bank. But she believed in her future husband and a more prosperous future so she followed him and they were married. Now 42 and with two children, Erica is a student at LearningQuest’s Adult Literacy program.
Erica works with tutor, Robert Dowd,to improve her English so she can enroll in Child Development courses at Modesto Junior College to pursue her goal of becoming a teacher and work with autistic children.
She learned about the literacy program from a friend. “It’s a good program,” she said. “The people – Natalie and the staff – are very helpful, and my tutor understands and encourages me.” One challenge Erica faces is in practicing her English skills. As often happens with female students, her family – who all are bilingual and speak English well – do not encourage Erica to speak English at home. She enrolled at non-credit ESL classes at MJC where she has more opportunities to practice her English.
“Erica is determined to learn and succeed,” says Dowd, who is also helping Erica to navigate the educational system in her native Colombia in hopes of having her high school diploma transferred and recognized by MJC. However, if that doesn’t work, Erica has the option of attending LearningQuest’s HSE program, which offers High School Equivalency preparation in both English and Spanish.
Love and determination: an unstoppable combination, at least where Erica is concerned.