Phoenix High School, Graduated 1972, age 18
When I graduated from Phoenix High School we were poor and I did not see college as an option at that time. Looking back today I realize that scholarship and grant money we have now was available back then too but no one told me. No one ever encouraged me to attend college either, not even my teachers. I did not come from a family who were college educated, so my family didn’t encourage me to attend college either. We were working people, not scholars.
When Melissa was in the forth grade and Kevin in first grade I started college. I had never even walked into a college until then. I was 43 years old, almost 44.
I kept telling my children that they didn’t want to live in poverty all their lives so they needed to get a good education and attend college. Then one day it dawned on me that if it was important for them to go to college, then I should be their example and show them the importance of a higher education. I called up our local community college and asked when they were giving their next placement test. I signed up, took the test, and began college in January 1998. I was out of high school for 26-1/2 years and had to start at the beginning.
Reedley Community College, Reedley, Calif. – Jan 1998-May 2000
Graduated with my AA Degree as a transfer student to the university. Graduated 5th in my class with honors. Member of Alpha Gamma Honor Society. I was 46 years old.
California State University, Fresno, California – Aug 2000-May 2003
Graduated with my BA Degree in Liberal Studies. Graduated Cuma Laude with honors. Member of Fresno State, Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key Honor Societies. I was 49 years old. Melissa graduated from Sanger High, Kevin from Washington Middle School, and I from Fresno State in 2003.
National University, Fresno, California – April 2003-August 2006
Graduated with my MA Degree in Special Education. Also had my California Teaching Credentials in Mild-Moderate Special Ed, Moderate-Severe Special Ed, and K-12 Multiple Subject General Ed. Graduated with Summa Laude honors. Member of Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key Honor Societies. I was 52 years old.
It was not easy obtaining my education. I worked, attended college full time, was very active in my children’s lives, went through a divorce during these years, and took care of our home and property. It was a time in my life that I got little sleep and juggled a lot of activities and responsibilities at one time. However, it stimulated my daughter and son to attend college. I accomplished my goal as their example while getting an education myself. Because of my son I always knew I wanted to be a Special Education teacher to help children, like Kevin, who needed extra help.