Thursday, June 24, 2021 written by Jennie Kwok.

Graduation marks the beginning of a new chapter in life. From our youngest learners to adult students, there is much to celebrate and be proud of. The majority of our students come from low-income, first-generation, and English language-learning families. As they take the next step towards a promising future, Guadalupe School cheers for each individual.

Our Early Learning Center’s End of Year Celebration was a success! We are so proud of our students’ growth during this challenging school year. The children at Guadalupe School are resilient and we are so happy to see how much they have progressed.

Our kindergarten students have made some cherished memories with us this year. We’ve watched them learn, grow, and change from day to day. It is with great hope and expectations that all the things we’ve done will help them along the way in 1st grade—congratulations!

Guadalupe School especially wants to congratulate our charter school graduates! A diploma is proof of their hard work—it’s a major milestone that should remind them that they can achieve their goals, even when it is not easy. As they transition to middle school, we celebrate their accomplishments and diverse paths into the future!

As this school year comes to an end, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the successes of our Adult Education graduates! These individuals ⁠attended classes at Guadalupe School for 5 years to receive a Certificate of Completion in pursuit of a better future. Take this time to remember all that we’ve built as a community, while reflecting on our challenges and accomplishments. The following stories will encourage you to follow your dreams and never give up on yourself.

My name is Maria Angeles Ocanico and I am from Mexico. I chose to migrate to America in August 1999 because this country was known as a place for opportunities. When I arrived I hoped to find a job and repay my parents for all of their sacrifices while raising me. The most difficult part of coming here was the language barrier and culture. I had to learn about how to drive and laws. Everything was super different for me. I miss my parents and other family members who are still in Mexico, but I had to move to try to achieve my goals.

Before I learned English I always needed to rely on interpreters during visits to the hospital or work. It was really frustrating that I couldn’t communicate my true feelings. When my kids were born I wanted to be able to protect them. So I registered for classes at Guadalupe School to learn how to speak and stand up for myself and my children in English. Once I started to understand English more, I discovered that interpreters would translate things wrong and coworkers would talk openly about me thinking that I didn’t know what they were saying. I was finally able to defend myself and say what I wanted to. When my kids were getting bullied at school, I was able to confidently use my new knowledge and keep them safe.

Besides learning English I learned how to use programs like Word, Google Slides, and Excel on computers. This is useful because I learned how to make presentations and I used Excel at my last job to help create orders. I’m learning so much and I want to keep practicing these new skills! My advice to new students at Guadalupe School is to do your best wherever you go. Try to be here always even if you’re late by 10 or 20 minutes, even in 5 minutes you can learn something. Take advantage of this opportunity and you’ll learn a lot. Don’t procrastinate! I started in 2015 and I didn’t stop until now.

I have progressed a lot in life since I don’t need to ask for help anymore. I feel confident in myself. I used to keep quiet, but now I can stand up for myself and my kids. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished. I can now ask questions in English, I don’t have to use interpreters, and I can hold phone conversations on my own. It’s the best to be able to do things on my own! When my kids say that they can’t do something I tell them, “everything is possible if you try.” I am a single mom with 2 jobs and I am still able to learn. I love being an example for my children by coming to school. My next step is to get my GED, take English classes in college, and get a career in business.

My name is Alejandro Arevalo and I am from Mexico. I migrated here in 1998 because I wanted a better life and better salary. When I first arrived I was determined to save up enough money to buy a house for my father in Mexico. The language and applying for jobs was a huge obstacle for me.

I enrolled in classes at Guadalupe School because I wanted to learn how to read, write, and understand English. In addition to learning English, I’ve learned how to use computers. All of the teachers here have been helpful for my academic growth. I would tell new students at Guadalupe School to take advantage of all the programs that are offered.

I have been here for 22 years and I miss my father. However, I’ve achieved one of my goals and currently own a house in Mexico because of my life in America. I am also now confident about my English because of Guadalupe School. My next plan is to buy a house here since I have a big family. The future looks bright. One day I want to teach English in Mexico!

My name is Maria Cirilo and I am from Mexico. I migrated here 10 years ago. When I first started my life here I knew my ABCs, numbers, and a few words. I like all of the lakes and stores here, but I especially like being able to go on walks in the park with my daughters. Mexico is my country and it’s beautiful. One day I would like to go back.

My English was really bad when I first started attending classes at Guadalupe School. I struggled with pronunciation, reading, writing, and listening. English is really difficult. After a while, I started to learn a lot. I learned a lot of words and how to write better. Alicia and Lexie helped me the most. When I started here, Lexie was my first teacher. She’s a good teacher because she explains the words or writing. When I have a question, her answers are easy to understand. Alicia was my tutor and she was a good person! I still get a little nervous if people try to speak to me in English. When someone talks too fast, it’s hard for me to understand. My English is not perfect but I understand more now because I registered for classes at Guadalupe School. The teachers are good teachers here. They explain things well and are patient with me. Alicia and Lexie are my favorite!

I would tell new students at Guadalupe School that this is a good school. It’s difficult to learn in large groups, but Guadalupe School has small class sizes which are better for learning. Teachers give one-on-one explanations to students. I have told all of my family members to come here since it’s the best school. I would also recommend Guadalupe School to my friends.

My life has improved since I have learned more English. When my daughter started school, I was scared to talk with the teachers because I didn’t understand, but now it’s easier! I go to school with my daughter, I help with homework or my daughter helps me with mine. I’m proud of myself because within 2 years of coming to Guadalupe School, I got my driver’s license! I feel good now because I never saw myself going to school. My cousin invited me here, but I feel good about myself for going to school. Sometimes when I talk with people and their English is perfect or when I don’t understand, it’s scary. But I talk to people in English every day at work and they comfort me and tell me that I am doing a good job. In the future, I want to learn more English. I’m so happy that I enrolled at Guadalupe School because learning English helped me buy a house last year.

My name is Anita Guzman and I am from Mexico. I migrated here in 2001 because it’s better for my family, there are more possibilities, and to help my family in Mexico. It was hard to learn a new language and culture, but there were more opportunities for everybody here. I struggled with the language barrier and how different everything was from Mexico. Despite that, I try to come to school to understand more and get better opportunities at work. Mexico is beautiful. All of my family is in Mexico, but it is more dangerous there. Not a good life for my family or kids. It is better here for my kids and better for their life in the future.

I have one daughter who is seven years old. I want to understand more English so that I can help her with homework. My daughter is why I registered for classes at Guadalupe School. I understand more English than when I first came here. Now I understand better pronunciation, I can speak to other people, and help her with her homework. This year she had to stay at home for school and I was able to help. Since starting classes at Guadalupe School, I’ve earned more opportunities at work and I want to try to get a promotion. It’s good for my family, more money, and new experiences. My husband supports me. Gerardo, my husband, speaks English. He told me to go to school.

I came here with three friends and they all thought that they weren’t progressing, but one day you will learn one phrase and you will learn more every day. All of the other friends gave up, but I didn’t and now I am graduating. My advice to new Guadalupe School students would be to not give up. You will get more opportunities and understand your kids more. It’s better for everything when I’m shopping at the store. If my kids get bullied, I can support them. English helps in all aspects of life. Just come to school.

English has transformed everything in my life because for years, I didn’t understand. My husband had to help me with everything. Now, I can try and it’s not perfect, but I try to use English at the hospital and at work. I am glad that I came to school to understand English. It’s good for me. If I didn’t come to school, I would not understand English. I am worried about having no explanations for questions or not being able to understand, but I can still try every day. I have a dream to run an Asian-Mexican fusion restaurant with my husband because he has been a chef for 25 years and I used to be a waitress!

My name is Cezario Puerta and I am from Mexico. I migrated here in 1996 because I needed to work and get more money. I wanted to improve my life. The language barrier was difficult. If I knew the language, I would understand the culture better. I miss the pools in Mexico, but the only difference between here and Mexico is the snow and I love the snow.

I signed up for classes at Guadalupe School because I thought it would be cool to learn English! Because I hear it a lot, many times, and I learn. Ray Merkhish helped me learn English during my time here, he taught us a lot. Sometimes we were lazy students, but he always made us work. He showed me the things that I needed to learn. My advice to new students at Guadalupe School is to stay in school and work hard. Don’t be like me. If you study hard, you will learn a lot. If you don’t take responsibility, you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself.

My life has changed because every sign I see, I can read. I am happy that I can read and write. If you break it down into pieces, you can understand. I’m not afraid of what the future will hold because I am used to the defeats and not surprised by them. I hope to find a part-time job after graduating.

My name is Maria Ramona Mancera and I am from Mexico. I decided to migrate here 24 years ago when I visited my four brothers who were in the U.S. for a year on permits. I decided to return to the U.S. to work with my brothers because they had more job opportunities. I forgot about going back to Mexico when I met my husband here and we were married in 2000. We have one son together and he helps my husband with his work. I hoped to start a new life here with a good job and to open opportunities for my son. We faced many problems when we were first settling in. It was different times and we had no work, house, car, or money. Sometimes my husband and I couldn’t find work. We sacrificed to have what little we have. I miss my parents and 14 siblings who are scattered across Mexico and the U.S., but I’m grateful to be living here.

I signed up for classes at Guadalupe School because it is close to my house. I want to continue studying here, but now I will need to find a different school to keep practicing. I have an alteration business which is useful for practicing my English with customers. Having more communications between people helps with my English. My family and all of the community teachers have supported me. If I have any excuses, my husband always pushes me to go to class. My advice to new students at Guadalupe School is to not give up. Keep going and be consistent. There will always be obstacles, but you have to finish. When I started, there were so many students who started with us, but now only I am graduating.

My life has changed for the better since learning English. I see life differently. Life is easier because I know how to do difficult things. I am most proud about finishing school and being the most consistent attendee. I go to all of the optional classes! I’m worried that I won’t be able to study after graduation. I like to study, but sometimes I can get distracted. I also need to practice driving more and it’s been convenient driving here, but now I will have to drive to other classes. I want to fulfill my goals in English. I want to communicate and express myself well. I haven’t had the opportunity to practice too much English at work, but I want to learn and I am motivated.

My name is Claudia Valerio and I’m from Mexico. I have lived in Utah since I was 15 years old. My parents sent me to the USA to study. Their plan for me was that I could have a better academic study and a better quality of life. The hardest part was leaving my loved ones and friends. I miss the food and our traditions.

I enrolled at Guadalupe School because I needed to learn more English. Besides English, I have learned about business and CNA. Coming to school has helped me a lot, but also the specialists and tutors. My advice to the new students of Guadalupe is to never give up the effort, we can achieve better things even the ones that don’t matter at first. It seems that you do not learn anything, but with time you realize that yes, you’re learning! Even if you feel too tired to come, please always try to arrive because the tutors also make the effort to come to teach us.

My life has improved a lot because learning English has given me the opportunity to communicate better with people. It has helped me to have a better job opportunity and also given me the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to speak with the Congress. English definitely has changed my life.

By having our students reflect on the knowledge they have gained, they focus on making connections, asking questions, visualizing, summarizing, and evaluating their learning. Naturally, this thought process leads to more effective goal-setting for the coming year!

Guadalupe School hopes that these motivational stories have made a lasting impact on you. Go after your dreams with our help and sign up for classes at today. Take control of your life and pursue a better future with us.