Student Success Story:
took Silvia Gomez almost five years to earn her medical assisting certificate
from Cañada College. But just days after graduating, she was rewarded with a
job as a medical assistant at an optometry clinic.
Silvia's job search was short and painless, her path to get there was anything
but. In Mexico, Silvia went to school through sixth grade. When, at age 16, she
moved to the US and started high school, her classmates teased her because she
was so far behind. Silvia dropped out and got a job at Jack in the Box.
in the footsteps of her aunt, Silvia then enrolled in an Intensive
Nurse Assistant training program and eventually got a job at a nursing
home on the night shift - from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. - so she could go to school
during the day. She took ESL classes at Sequoia Adult School and Cañada
College, then embarked on the classes she needed to get her medical assisting
certificate. She was in school for almost five years.
were so many times, when I wanted to give up. I had to work all night and take
care of my daughter and take classes that were so difficult," Silvia says.
"I almost quit, but I didn't. Now, I can't believe what I did."
Silvia was helped every step of the way by Upward
local non-profit that provides community college students, mostly adult
immigrants, with financial and academic support so they can succeed in
community college. This semester, Upward Scholars is supporting more than 240
students, most of whom attend Cañada College.
Scholars provided Silvia with funds for her books, which often cost several
hundred dollars a semester, and with a laptop so that she could study while on
her break at work. “Upward Scholars helped me a lot because I knew they
believed in me, so I started to believe in myself,” Silvia says. Silvia has no
intention of resting on her laurels. She's currently enrolled in Cañada’s
pre-nursing program and, after that, hopes to enroll in a nursing program at a