LQ Student & Alumni Mixer

We are gathering current students and past graduates to celebrate everything about being a student at LearningQuest! (Refreshments provided)

Current students and alumni have this opportunity to mingle, network and learn from each other…especially since LearningQuest is a shared path for so many on their way to even greater things.

*ARE YOU A PAST GRADUATE? Come by for a visit and meet the new students, check out the upgrades we’ve done to the Learning Center, and find out what we’ve been up to. Also, we’re kind of REALLY excited to hear about your life after earning your diploma.


RSVP through the Facebook event HERE or give us a call at 548-9266, see you there!

Juan: Changing for the Better from English to Diploma

Juan Hernandez is a true example of what dedication and determination can achieve. Juan came to this country in 2002 hoping to establish roots and have a better future. He quickly realized that his dreams were harder to attain not knowing English or having a high school diploma. His parents raised him to never give up and to always strive for better, so he worked whatever jobs he could find, from washing dishes at different restaurants to agricultural work in the fields.

Struggling to get by and feeling alone in this country he found himself starting to spiral out of control, leading him to homelessness and drug abuse. He knew that he needed to regain control of his life and seek help because nobody was going to change it for him. He joined different programs in the community to get him back on his feet by finding work and enrolling in English classes at El Concilio. Soon after, he was married and became a father. His family inspired him to be the best version of himself from then on. As his English improved, more opportunities became available for him at work. Juan began to look for more classes to better himself and enrolled with LearningQuest in 2017, eager to start the ESL and Spanish HSE classes.

Juan has always been an exceptional student. Like many others, he has a busy life working full time and having a family to support. However, he never let that be an excuse to “take it easy” in either classes, continuing to be an overachiever in his class. He says he had to learn how to be organized and prioritize his work. He said he knew that if you really want to accomplish something you could work really hard and you will reach your goals faster than you think.

Juan graduation

At the 2018 Spring Graduation & Awards Night, Juan Hernandez was a HSE Graduate, student speaker, and winner of the “Greatest Achievement” award

juan certificate

‘The rewards of our hard work are worth the struggle, you will never regret the knowledge and accomplishments you have gained along the way.’

Juan Hernandez

Every week, Juan studied and did homework before and after his shift, then headed straight to evening classes until 8 pm. The hard work and dedication to his studies paid off when he got the news he had passed his last test, finally earning his High School Equivalency diploma! His English skills have improved immensely, still taking advantage of every opportunity to practice with whoever will talk with him.

Juan received his diploma in just five short months, but his goals did not stop there. He is still enrolled in ESL classes at LearningQuest, but now at the highest ESL level. He knows that improving his English skills will only open more doors in the future. In addition to taking English classes, he is also enrolled at MJC and taking classes that will help him start a career as an electrician. The classes have helped him improve his education, but have also helped him on a more personal level.

He said he has gained confidence in himself and what he can accomplish, now encouraging his fellow classmates and anyone thinking about changing their life to just do it. He is excited for what the future has in store for him. He says that the rewards of our hard work are worth the struggle, you will never regret the knowledge and accomplishments you have gained along the way.

Juan gets award
Juan cries

Juan pausing in order to hold back tears when speaking about his family as his inspiration.

Joining Forces to Raise Funds for Literacy






Joining Forces to Raise Funds for Literacy

For a summer campaign, LearningQuest has joined forces with SPIE’s The Literacy Network of Stanislaus County and The Modesto Bee’s News in Education program to create awareness and support literacy programs available to community members of all ages.

If you believe that promoting literacy in the home, at school and throughout one’s life, take the time to learn more about these organizations below and the work they do to instill the skills necessary for a lifetime of learning.

Take it a step further and be an advocate for literacy by “Signing On to Literacy 2018” HERE

Check out the Flyer with Mail In Instructions HERE



Silvia’s Stand for Learning

The need to learn is one felt by all different kinds of people.  In adult education, we find ourselves working with students who have dealt with harsh circumstances and where education has often taken a back seat to other priorities.  Whether it is dropping out of school at an early age, facing jail time, or, like Silvia’s story, simply needing a fresh start in another country…no story is the same.


Silvia Cazarin was born and raised near the Gulf of Mexico in a caring family where she was able to focus on education and some of the finer things in life, like interior design and oil painting.  Her hard-working father made it possible for Silvia to grow up with breakfast served in bed and not having to cook or clean.  She had a supportive family that allowed her to flourish in her studies and hobbies which eventually led to a degree in and opening a business for interior design.  She met an American who asked her to move back to the United States with him, especially since she was about to give birth to their daughter.  With only her father left living, but extremely sick, she chose to stay; taking care of her father was Silvia’s priority.


After some time Silvia’s father passed away and her neighborhood began to descend into crime, kidnapping, and murder.  With three close friends being kidnapped, two of which murdered, she knew she needed to escape as the dangers began to build against her.  With nothing but a suitcase in one hand and her 15 year-old daughter’s hand in the other, Silvia set out for the United States.


It has been two years since Silvia left Mexico to brave a new world of opportunities for her daughter and for herself.  Barely able to speak English, she enrolled, joined, and participated in any English program she could find.  Silvia applied for MJC’s English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) program as well as signing up with LearningQuest for one-on-one reading and writing tutoring.


Silvia entered the LearningQuest tutoring program reading English at a fifth grade level, but needing even more support with writing and communication skills.  It took her just over a year and she is already reading at a seventh grade level, making huge strides of improvement in her English writing and speaking.  Finding the right tutor-student match is essential to success and Silvia’s tutor, Linda Reachert, has continued to guide her along this journey.  Silvia said, “My tutor is amazing, she is very educated, nice, and is willing to do anything to help me.”


In a year, Silvia has taken a noble approach to stepping outside of the comfort zone her privileged upbringing provided her by eagerly working to learn and experience more.  For Silvia, mundane tasks like cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry were skills she wanted to develop just as much as her focus on improving her English and keeping up with her studies. She recently found a job as a tennis instructor, has been awarded the 2018 Student Achievement Award in Literacy by the Literacy Network of Stanislaus County, and has come to enjoy borrowing cook books from the library, shopping for ingredients, and then tackling recipes.   Linda compliments Silvia’s outstanding commitment to learning, her sharp mind, humble attitude, and ability to learn and adapt in any situation.


Silvia’s start was a kind one that many don’t usually experience, but the determination she needed to change her life, and her daughter’s life, is something we recognize in all of our students.  Silvia’s grit and purpose have created so many more opportunities for her to grow and become the person she knows she can be.

Believing in Herself Pays Off for Crista Davis

Written by: Denise Nordell


Overcoming obstacles is a common theme among LearningQuest students. Sometimes the obstacles are tangible: difficult family situations, learning disabilities, trouble with the law, poverty or substance abuse. Sometimes the obstacles are internal, as Crista Davis can attest.

Crista’s biggest challenge was her self-doubt and struggles with feeling overwhelmed. But then she enrolled in Enterprise RESTART, which she credits with putting her back on track to pursue her goals. With the intervention of a guidance counselor and attending a program to work on her self-confidence she began to believe in herself, recognize her abilities and overcome her fears.

Crista reached out to Social Services in 2017 and a supervisor referred her to LearningQuest. Academically, Crista found math and writing to be her most difficult subjects. “But the instructors believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” she says, and she was able to complete her GED in a little less than two years. Crista is especially grateful to instructors Jason and Hallie, as well as Rosie and Reyna, who helped with her transition out of the program. She is also thankful to family members who supported her along the way, especially her sister, Lakisha, who traveled from San Jose to see Crista graduate in March.

Crista had more than her share of personal difficulties, including living in foster care and being a single mother of four. Along the way she would tell herself, “If I could overcome other obstacles in my life, I could do this, too.” The journey has not been easy, but Crista is hopeful and enthusiastic about the future. Her next step is to continue her education and to someday work with the community, helping others who are struggling with problems she has faced herself. According to Crista, “There is always a way out.”

Crista has come to realize that everything that she believed about herself was nothing more than the negative talk of others who wanted to tear her down. What advice does Crista have for someone who is thinking about getting a GED? “Use your life experience and believe in yourself,” she says. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!”


We Made it to Graduation!

In only six months, the goal of helping 90 HSE students graduate was within reach…

LearningQuest instructors worked with the students every chance they could to prepare them to earn that shimmering certificate.  Zachary Lake, an instructor recently awarded for his proactive attitude in the organization, tells his students “…that each step they take and each day they come to class to prepare leads them that much closer to realizing their dreams for success.”

In order to walk the stage at the Graduation & Awards Night, LearningQuest High School Equivalency (HSE) students were required to pass 5 tests in the following subjects: Math, Reading, Writing, Science and Social Studies.  They had to show up and work hard, even if it became difficult or if life aligned them with another hurdle to jump.  Zachary said, “I tell them that they should already feel pride in their decision to obtain their HSE, it is time worth spent. The challenges they face help make them more successful in the future and not only help them reach their goal of getting their HSE, but have far reaching positive consequences toward their overall success in life, whether through college, a career or beyond.”


Finally on March 30th, 2018, LearningQuest honored 89 graduates and 3 award winners:

Best Effort: Crista Davis

Most Improved: Mayra Gonzalez

Greatest Achievement: Juan Hernandez


There was a buzz of excitement and nervousness as the graduates mingled behind the Modesto High School auditorium, dressing in their purple cap and gown.  A sense of relief and nostalgia floated around them as they talked with instructors and reminisced with classmates on shared struggles and memorable moments.  Spirits soared as they walked into a cheering auditorium with “Pomp and Circumstance” trumpeting them down the aisle and into their seats.  Grinning, they crossed the stage as their names were called, and after the ceremony ended, dispersed into the crowds of roaring chants and embraces from proud family and friends.

Their time with LearningQuest was brief, but nonetheless a distinct instance where the path toward better things has become even more of a possibility.  These graduates have changed our lives as much as we have changed theirs and we wish them the best in everything they do.

Congratulations again to the 2018 Spring LearningQuest Graduates!

Success after graduation: Michael Enriquez

Michael Enriquez graduated from Learning Quest Stanislaus Literacy Centers in 2012.  Since graduating, Michael has worked in the construction field and is currently employed with California Drywall doing metal stud framing and sheetrock. He is also attending classes with the goal of receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Construction Management.

He is so thankful for the staff and volunteer tutors for being so helpful.   When asked what advice would he give to a current student, Michael stated, “Stick it out when you feel like giving up; it is well worth it.  If I had given up, I would not have been able to land a very well paying and rewarding career. That piece of paper is the start to a bright future.”

Michael appreciates quality time with his family which includes his fiance, three children and one more on the way.  In his spare time, also likes visiting San Francisco, hiking and fishing.  Great job Michael, we are so happy for your success!