Steven Brown – A Success Story
As an eighteen-year career truck driver, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea along with a degenerative disk in my neck and also developed carpal tunnel tendonitis arthritis in my left wrist – my dominate hand. I found myself in a tricky situation because driving an 18-wheeler had become almost impossible for me to do. I was in a lot of pain. Because of the sleep apnea I was arriving to work feeling fatigued and while driving I caught myself nodding off behind the wheel. Finally, my doctor took me off work and placed me on medical leave. I was faced with an uncertain future. At 54 years old I was thinking that I am way too old to go back to school and learn a new trade but I had to try. The reality of falling asleep behind the steering wheel was way too possible. My doctor told me about the Department of Rehabilitation.
One of the benefits of the Department of Rehabilitation is their list of resources and they suggested I sign up for classes at Placer School for Adults (PSA). I was in no way feeling like school material. The school counselor at PSA listened closely to my story and read all the documents that I provided for her. She put together a class schedule for me and I began taking classes like Basic PC Skills, Switching Gears – New Careers, The Value of Emotional Intelligence, Creating a Resume and Cover Letter, CalJobs Overview, Introduction to Microsoft Word, Word 2016, Introduction to Windows 10, and English classes – along with many other classes they offered.
I went from being very computer illiterate to finding my way around one with a lot more ease. The “self-confidence” classes were fun and made me feel like I was a part of the team. They encouraged the class to break into groups (like a “think tank”) to come up with ideas on how to solve some of the problems we have right here in Auburn. It was a fun lesson and mentally stimulating.
Many thanks to the office staff and teaching staff. You should always be held with the highest regard. You take Placer School for Adults very seriously. I have seen other adult students benefit from this program as well, such as single mothers, homeless people, senior citizens wanting to get involved in their community and also small business owners. Thank you for having this program that has been a lifesaver for me and many others.
I am enrolling at Sierra College to further my education because of your caring program.
Thank you again,
In 1988 at the age of fifteen, Hector Pinon left Patzcuaró, Mexico to work with his brother at a mill in Auburn in order to help his family back home, but what he really wanted to do was go to high school. Instead, he started attending ESL classes in the evenings. Initially, his only goal was to learn English, but his teachers at Placer School for Adults kept encouraging him to apply to the local community college.
After Hector was laid off from the mill, he went to work for a landscape company. His new employer saw Hector’s interest in continuing his education and helped pay for his college courses. Later, in 1998, Hector had earned an associate’s degree from Sierra College in Liberal Arts, two years after that he received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sacramento. “I was a full-time student and a part-time employee. I worked on my own doing landscape and maintenance. It seemed to me that I never wanted to stop going to school. I decided that I wanted to go a little more, so I took my master’s. Besides books, home and school, I didn’t see any break for a year.”
After receiving his master’s degree in Spanish, Hector became a part-time professor at Sierra College hoping to teach Spanish as well as running his own successful landscape business.
Today, as an American citizen, Hector encourages other immigrants to get an education. He teaches Spanish at the adult school where he got his start and works as a volunteers in the classroom of the teacher who taught him English so long ago. Mr. Pinon says he “wanted to set an example for many people, because I knew many of them didn’t believe in themselves.
Source: Swanburg, S. (2003, May 5). Mexican immigrant makes his American dreams come true. The Auburn Journal pp. A1, A6.
My name is Vicki, and this is my story. I enrolled as a student at Placer School for Adults for several reasons. I was inspired after reading the Principal’s Message printed in the Fall 2015 Placer School for Adults catalog. The message was clear…. if I truly wanted to improve my life, education was the key. Attending Placer School for Adults gave me something to strive for.
I’ve learned that no matter how difficult or impossible the situation, our actions give us freedom !!!
Eight weeks ago I was pretty close to believing my obstacles were getting the best of me. There was no solution, time to sit down and accept my fate. For whatever reason, life turned against me.
My Instructor could see right through me and guided me to land on my feet. I was given tools and training needed to make necessary changes in my life. Guest speakers shared their personal struggles and offered small, specific, attainable goals that will help lead me to a better destination.
I received a certificate of completion in Business Office Professional Certification (PASSAGE) through Placer School for Adults, presented it for an interview the day after graduation and was hired!!!
Thank you so very much for asking me to share my experience.
I first decided to take a computer course because I was turned down for a potential job opportunity. I did not have adequate experience with computers and this was a critical factor. At first I was disappointed but then I saw the opportunity to challenge myself and get into a training program to build these skills and gain confidence. I picked up the Placer Adult School catalog but was not sure which computer class to take. When I walked into the office I met a friendly staff member who was very helpful. When I briefly described my situation she suggested the PASSAGE course. She said that this course was going to cover the basics for an office job. I attended the class orientation and made my decision to take the course. I enrolled and paid for the course before I could change my mind.
Now that I’ve taken the course I am so glad that I enrolled. I have learned so much about how to manage the basics of the computer, and I have gained more confidence for my next adventure. My training and confidence will take me from a ‘fast food’ job into a new career in an office setting. Before taking the PASSAGE class, I was really insecure and not sure what I could accomplish. One of the most important aspects to my confidence and new found skills was the PASSAGE teacher. His unique way of teaching really kept me on my toes and he really got the class involved and interacting. This interaction with others in the class was the key to helping me understand and learn. Last, but not least, all the guest speakers in this course were really helpful, and they helped me to understand how to prepare for a successful job search.
Norene Cavaness, 91, attended Hoover High School in Glendale California from 1939 to 1943. She would have graduated in Spring of 1943 but after getting married that year, the Dean of Students told her there was no need to continue school since she would just be a housewife. After raising four sons and caring for her husband until his death, Norene decided she wanted to finish her high school diploma to honor a promise she made to her mother. She began taking classes at Placer School for Adults in Spring 2014. Graduation requirements had changed dramatically in the 75 years since Norene first attended high school but she was up for the challenge. She completed five credits of Health and five credits of Civics and then was issued an Honorary Diploma from Placer School for Adults. She is an inspiration to the students, teachers and staff of Placer School for Adults and truly exemplifies what it means to be a lifelong learner.
Since 2011 and the economic downturn, I have twice faced the problem of trying to gain stable employment. I was a single full time stay-at-home parent for many years struggling just to make ends meet. Tighter finance during tough times has impacted my family’s way of life. Trying to reenter the workplace again, it was diffi cult lacking current relevant experience and knowledge. While thumbing through a similar PSA catalog, I came across the course called P.A.S.S.A.G.E and decided to engage in the creative learning atmosphere.
My time spent in the P.A.S.S.A.G.E. computer and offi ce skills course was very productive, and I was able to greatly expand my knowledge and skill set. This program has been the most comprehensive reemployment program that I have attended. Not only was the course content relevant and taught by a very experienced instructor, but it was also a very supportive environment where people seemed to really care. It included guest speakers who are true professionals in their fields and graciously offered their help. Following completion of the course I felt capable of entering the job market and also felt I had an edge on the other new employees.
P.A.S.S.A.G.E. was intriguing, empowering, and changed my perspective in a way that allowed me to secure a position in a new career. During an interview I mentioned the classes I was taking and the interviewers were instantly impressed. I truly believe that these classes were the key to succeeding at my interview which brought me an offer of employment.
I needed a cost-effective way to improve my IT skills, as well as make myself more desirable to potential employers in what is a difficult job market. The Placer Adult School Certification Prep course for CompTIA A+ provided that. The classroom environment, with its give and take with other students as well as the teacher, Chris Anderson, helped to round out the information provided by the textbook. I recently took, and passed; both required tests and now have my Certification. I recommend this course to anyone in IT who wants to improve their PC Tech skills and/or employment options.
My parents always noticed that I was good with computers and naturally drawn to them. Mom and Dad kept encouraging me to take some computer classes at the Placer School for Adults but it didn’t click with me until I was laid off from the economic downturn. So I started with a basic class. I took the PC Technician and Networking class and then I took the CompTIA A+ Certification class which used a great book. I had a great teacher that helped me tremendously. My teacher, Steven Hurley, is brilliant and well versed in electronics and computers. We often talked after class about computers and he referred me to Stewart Schurr, a local small business owner (Doctor PC). So I began to spend time at the shop with Mr. Schurr.
Back in my classes, my teacher saw my progress and encouraged me to get my A+ certification as soon as possible. I passed my certification test on the first attempt with a score of 91%! I got in touch with Golden Sierra Connections in Auburn and they helped get my first real computer job at Doctor PC, in Auburn. I am currently working 30 hours per week and now see what my parents knew all along; that I have a passion for computers. I am now on a career path that will lead me in a successful direction.
I am very thankful for Placer School for Adults. Their courses are excellent and taught me the skills I need to have the confidence to pursue my passion and launch a great career. And of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of my loving wife Stacey and my parents, Carl and Janis. Thank you for being there to encourage me. A special thanks goes to my father for teaching me so many things about computers.
Yosselin was born in El Salvador, and came to Auburn in 2009. After being here just six months she met a person (student in adult education) who told her about our English as a Second Language classes. Her first goal was to improve her English skills, so she started ESL classes in 2010, and after just three months of ESL to improve her English she set a new goal – to finish her high school diploma. She speaks highly of the adult ed staff that guided her through the journey; Joy Slattery the counselor, Catherine Ernst teacher in ESL, Linda Pietz in math, and Cameron Layton in history, and Jennifer Barrett-Grove, assistant principal who encouraged her at every juncture.
After three semesters in the adult high school classes Yosselin completed all of her requirements, passed the California High School Exit Exam and graduated from Placer School for Adults with her high school diploma. This year she set a new goal and started courses at Sierra College. She is taking her general education courses first, but plans to eventually get her degree in business management.
Yosselin has spent many hours volunteering at the adult school in several areas, as an aide in the classroom, support in the office, building an Excel spreadsheet for the counselor, translating documents, building worksheets and flyers, and distributing catalogs to local businesses.
Yosselin says that the time in adult education has helped her in many ways, by building her English skills, preparing for the workplace, finishing her diploma, and preparing for college. She knows now that nothing can stop her, because now she has confidence in her skills and in herself. She knows that adult education has really helped change her life in so many ways. Her newest commitment in education is serving on the Strategic Planning Committee in Adult Education for the Placer Union High School District.
Just like the person who told her about adult education classes, she knows she has prompted at least 10 of her friends to start classes here, too. Yosselin feels compelled to help others in their life. She knows that she could do whatever she sets her mind to. Yosselin hopes to inspire others, and that they will see that if she can do it, they can to. She wants her story to be one that encourages others to continue, to never give up, to keep their goals in front of them, and to continue to work hard to reach those goals.
When Auburn resident Dean Friedman receives his high school diploma this week, no one will say he took a shortcut to get there.
At age 27, Friedman met his graduation requirements at Placer School for Adults last December and plans to attend the school’s ceremony on Thursday, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Placer High School auditorium.
Though he had left high school to join the workforce as a teenager, Friedman says the desire to tie up loose ends began to gnaw at him beside the temptation to find new work. He had new professional ambitions but an old score to settle, and after enrolling at Placer School for Adults in 2011, he quickly found there was no way through but the old-fashioned one – with hard work and dedication.
“Before, I didn’t really accomplish much. Only in work. It didn’t make me feel all that great, so one of the reasons was for more self-confidence,” he said. “It’s something I wanted to get done for myself, to feel more accomplished at something.”
Initially aiming for a GED, Friedman set his sights on a high school diploma when he realized how few credits he needed. But these included algebra, one of his least favorite subjects, and would require a significant amount of catch-up work.
“I had to take algebra for one semester, but I wasn’t quite familiar with it, because I wasn’t good at math before I started. Then they dropped me to pre-algebra for half of that semester, and I had to take algebra right after to finish it out,” he said. “It was hard. It was a really frustrating and hard thing to accomplish, but it just took a little bit longer than normal.”
Beth Islip, Friedman’s math teacher, said he joined the class with obvious purpose and sincere effort – the best possible replacements for natural aptitude.
“It was the last five chapters of the book, so it wasn’t the easy stuff. He was right there ready for it, and soaking it all in. I was so impressed with his earnestness,” she said. “He sat in the front row because that’s where he knew he learned best. He was always listening, he was always trying to learn at every single moment, and you can imagine sitting two nights a week from 5:30 to 8:30 was not an easy thing to do.”
With help from tutors, teachers and his girlfriend Lacey – a “big influence,” he said – Friedman completed what he set out to do.
Assistant Principal Jennifer Barrett-Grove, who helped start the tutoring program that gave students like Friedman the bridge they needed, said his positivity and tenacity did most of the work. Undeterred by frustration or cynicism, she said he was “refreshing” in his willingness to be taught the subject and, more importantly, see it through to the end.
“There’s always a reason they don’t finish (high school), and that reason doesn’t usually go away. They have to tackle it when they become adults, and he did that, because math was always his difficult subject,” she said. “I’ve talked with a number of his teachers, and they could just see how hard he was trying, and he participated. He always showed up. He didn’t walk away just because it was hard, because this was a second chance for him, and he was determined to make it.”
After completing the requisite credits for a diploma last December, Friedman also graduated from WyoTech, an automotive school in Fremont, with the intention of becoming a motorcycle or ATV mechanic with Yamaha in Roseville.
With a diploma in hand and determination in mind, Friedman has made an example of educational hurdles, both as obstacles and motivators for the trials ahead.
“I knew if I could (finish algebra), I could pretty much do anything. It was very frustrating and hard, because I have a hard time with keeping my nose in the book, and it helped me feel like I could accomplish anything else I needed to accomplish,” he said. “If you want to get it done, set your mind and heart to it.”
More Success Stories – Adult Students Succeed
For more motivating success stories from real people who have attended Adult Education please click HERE. You’ll read about countless adult students finding success and charting a new life chapter, after their positive experiences in Adult Education across the state.