Jenny's Journey to Success
I was only 16 when I had to drop out of high school. My mom wanted to come to the United States from Mexico with the hope of a better life for herself and her children, which left me responsible for taking care of my little brother who was five at the time. I wanted to finish high school and continue with my education, but instead, I was working full-time as a chef for retired Catholic priests. I cried when I had to leave school. I cried when I heard that my friends would have their graduation ceremony without me. I didn’t even know what I wanted to study but one thing I was sure of, was that I wanted to continue with school. In my heart, I promised I was going to get my diploma.
Thirty-one years ago, I came to this amazing country. The years passed but I had yet to look for information on how to get a high school diploma. Maybe it was because my English wasn’t great, or that I was working as a massage therapist full-time, raising two beautiful children, keeping my marriage intact, or maybe... I was a little scared to even reach out. That was until I heard about Lincoln Education Center. Two years ago, my friend told me about a program that helped her get her diploma within two years. I felt my 16-year-old self inside me screaming from happiness. I hung onto that feeling I felt thirty-three years ago and decided that I was going to do it. No matter what. One day while driving on Garden Grove Boulevard, I saw a big sign reading, “Get your high school diploma.” Inspired, I went to get information and before I knew it I was reading, writing, and asking my daughter for help on my math homework! It felt like a fever dream. I was doing my best in school, working as a successful massage therapist, and satisfying the one dream I’ve had since I was a teenager.
Despite how difficult it was to manage my work, school, and personal endeavors, I feel so accomplished and proud of myself for how far I’ve come. With the help of my kids, especially my daughter, the support of my family, and the amazing teacher I had, Linda Gaudentti, I am where I am today. In the near future, I hope to continue my knowledge of the human body by going to college and earning a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology. I can say that the sky's the limit and my dream came true when I woke up to start working on it. It’s never too late and I can happily say that I am still young and will learn new things!