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.
At the 2018 Spring Graduation & Awards Night, Juan Hernandez was a HSE Graduate, student speaker, and winner of the “Greatest Achievement” award
‘The rewards of our hard work are worth the struggle, you will never regret the knowledge and accomplishments you have gained along the way.’
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 pausing in order to hold back tears when speaking about his family as his inspiration.