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Student Stories

Aldair Bonilla
Aldair Bonilla

You’re capable of more than you think you are. Fight a little longer and a little harder.

My family moved to the United States when I was a year old. We later moved back to Mexico for almost two years. When we returned to America, I was over 18. I enrolled in an adult high school but didn’t get my diploma. One day I was at work shoveling snow. I felt like I would never finish. It was a slap in the face saying, "If you don’t get an education, you’re going to be doing this when you’re old." I thought, "Forget it — I’m not doing this for the rest of my life!" So I went all-out and got my diploma in three months!

I heard about the Community Education Center from my mother, who talked about how the people there were helping her. I set up an appointment with Navigation Services and was able to get financial aid, set an appointment with a counselor and enroll for classes. There have been many challenges. I have a hard time talking to strangers and struggle to find my words because I get nervous, but I made a goal to participate in class discussions and go out of my way to talk to other people.

Before going to the CEC, I didn’t want to start because I didn’t know how. If you don’t know how to start, just ask! The people at the CEC will work with you one-on-one. You’re capable of more than you think you are. Have a little faith. Fight a little longer and a little harder. You’re going to get knocked down — that’s normal. You’ll get the hang of it. If you try hard enough, anything is possible.

Carla Hatch
Carla Hatch

Go back to school. No matter what. Even if you have some setbacks, it’s never too late.

When I was in high school, I thought about going into medical coding but never got a chance to finish learning about it. After high school, I started at a trade school, where I got a certificate in business administration instead.

Unfortunately. things never picked up. I never got a job, so I decided to go back to school. I have a 3-year-old son, and I needed a way to provide a better future for him. Being a mother was the motivation I needed.

I attended a community college for my general education classes. While I was there, I heard about Weber State University’s Community Education Center from one of my teachers. When I finished my generals, I decided to learn about their programs.

I started out with the Legacy of Learning program. Through this program, I received a free laptop and internet services so I could work from home. Next, I got into the Venture program, where a student can get 10 credits with the College of Arts & Humanities at no cost. After that, Navigation Services helped me enroll in school. I did okay, but because I am deaf, things went better after I got an interpreter.

Go back to school. No matter what. Even if you have some setbacks, it’s never too late. Even though I’m 28 years old, and I didn’t really do things in the order most people expect, it’s never too late. Just do it.

Marisol Nolasco
Marisol Nolasco

Everything is possible if you wish with your heart. It is not hard if you do it with love.

When I was a child in Mexico, my parents wouldn’t let me go to middle school because the schools there are really bad. I would cry because I wanted to go to school. When we made it to America, we found out it was a law that you have to go to school until you’re 18. I was really behind. Some of my teachers suggested I get my GED, but I wanted my high school diploma instead. It wasn’t easy. We moved five times. I attended four different high schools, but I made it!

I wanted to go to college, but I kept delaying school because of my children — I have five, and I’m pregnant with my sixth. Going back was hard at first, but my husband and kids support me. They help at home so I can make my dream come true.

When I first heard about the Community Education Center I thought, “I won’t be able to do it,” but I got a lot of help getting registered and enrolled through the Navigation Services program. My teachers help me when I have questions. People ask me, “Are you able to take care of your responsibilities at home, study and go to class?” I tell them yes. It works! I’m currently studying criminal justice and want to be an attorney.

If you want to go back to school but think you can’t, I say, “Don’t be afraid. Make your dream come true!” Everything is possible if you wish with your heart. It is not hard if you do it with love. I’m so glad I am doing what I dreamed! We only have one life — don’t let it pass!

Richard Park
Richard Park

If you can find the devotion or the drive, you can do pretty much anything you want.

I didn’t really have a dad growing up. All I had was my grandfather. When I was 15, he died, and I went downhill from there. I started avoiding everything and dropped out of high school. I went into construction and have been working different jobs since. Now I have a 5-year-old daughter, and I am tired of living that way.

At the Community Education Center, I started with the Legacy of Learning program, where I was able to get a laptop and learn computer skills. Next, I was referred to the Path to Success program and got my GED – finishing three years of high school in three months with the help of one-on-one tutoring in math and English. Now, when I fill out job applications, I can write down that I have a diploma!

Once I finished my GED, I used the CEC’s Navigation Services to apply to Weber State University. I’m going into mechanical engineering and am taking intro classes while working on my generals. I found out I’m obsessed with learning.

Coming back has been a bit of a challenge, but once you have a child, it changes your perspective on life and makes it worth the hard work. If I could, I would tell my 15-year-old self to stay in high school so I could’ve come to WSU earlier. If you can find the devotion or the drive, you can do pretty much anything you want. The CEC has helped me where I needed it, and I would do the same for someone else.

Rubidia Andrade
Rubidia Andrade

I’ve been through the process, and now I can help another person. It’s like a chain of people helping each other.

When I moved from El Salvador, I didn’t know any English and had to go straight to high school. I’m glad that I was able to go, even though it was hard to communicate. When I went to work two years after high school, that’s when I really started practicing. I was embarrassed to talk, but that’s how I learned. After that, I tried to work and go to college, but even with no children and only a few classes, I was exhausted and didn’t finish.

Years later, I was talking to a friend who told me about the Community Education Center. I started with a program called Legacy of Learning. A while later, I lost my job and thought, “What do I do? Go back to work or do something else?” I decided to go back to school.

The CEC helped me transfer my credits and apply for financial aid. The Navigation Services staff told me what to do from the beginning — even nudged me when I started to get behind. They also helped me decide on my degree — a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in entrepreneurship.

I want to be able to show my kids that I can do this. Just because I’m a single mom doesn’t mean I can’t do something for them and for me.

I wouldn’t be in school without the CEC. I’m telling my friends about WSU’s programs. I’ve been through the process, and now I can help another person.