Workforce Readiness & Literacy Unit Success Stories
Jaime Oliva's Story
I came to the United States many years ago. The reason I came to the U.S. was because I was looking for freedom and economic opportunities. I became a permanent resident of the United States in 2002. That day I promised myself that one day I was going to be a citizen of the United States.
So one day in July (2010) I started to visit the YWCA in Princeton and I spoke with this wonderful person. His name is Larry. He told me that the YWCA has a class for people who want to become a USA citizen. He introduced me to this beautiful, wonderful teacher. Her name is Jeanne. She is the one who gives the classes for the USA citizenship in the YWCA. And, yes, since that day I come every day to learn about the history of the United States because I want to be a citizen of the United States.
When I came to the U.S, I didn't know any English, but my father told me a very good advice. He said that I have to watch television in English only and listen to the news on the radio and read the newspapers. That gives me more confidence to myself.
Another big reason is my brothers, my sisters, my mother and my father. I want to tell my family that, Yes, we can. Yes, we can. And I want to make them proud. My family is my only reason so I thank you, United States, for the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that you give me and to my family.
Jaime is from Guatemala. Since he wrote the above story, he received his citizenship and is now attending the YWCA Princeton s GED preparation class. To date he has passed all of the sections with the exception of the essay. He has been diligently preparing to take this part of the GED test again on February 11th. He has much to say about the very positive effect the opportunity for continued adult education has been in his life.
John Goode-Speech delivered at Essex County College Adult Learning Center:
I am a proud alumnus of this Essex County College Adult Learning Center Program. First, I need to thank God for getting us all here. I would also like to thank all of the staff here, and everyone who has had anything to do with the development of this program, because what I have learned in this program has enabled me to greatly improve the quality of my life.
It is truly an honor and a privilege to be asked to come back here and share my personal experience in this program with you guys. When I registered here in October 2007, my goal was to attain my GED, but I had very little hope of actually achieving it. After all, I had been out of school for more than twenty years and I thought school was too difficult even then. I had not t worked in almost ten years at this point. I was so tired of being turned down from jobs for not having a High School Diploma; I had stopped trying to gain employment. This led me down a road of self-destructive behavior. Self-esteem was nonexistent and I felt a sense of worthlessness.
The very first day of class here a miraculous thing happened; I began to feel a glimpse of hope. I actually remembered some of the things I had learned in high school. I gradually began to hold my head up and be proud to be back in school. All of the teachers and staff were encouraging and supportive. I really can t remember anyone believing in me like they did. They were my motivation. I couldn't t let them down. I began to really apply myself. Whatever lesson we were given in class for the day, I would at the end of class take home and study rigorously. I would not miss a day; I added perfect attendance to the list of short term goals that I had set for myself.
On June 15, 2009 after being strongly encouraged by staff that I was ready, I took and past the GED exam. I cannot thank these guys enough. Today I have a new perspective on life. My self-esteem has been lifted dramatically. I am a responsible productive member of society. I am a better father to my children, a better son to my mother, and a better husband to my wife. I will be returning to Essex County College for my third semester in September with a 3.77 grade point average. I have a lot of work to do and I m looking forward to getting it done.
I am really here to say congratulations to all of you, those who are graduating today, as well as those of you who have made the decision to pursue your Diploma. It s probably the best investment one could make these days. I believe anyone's dream can be awaken with hard work and dedication.