2020 Fall Graduation – A Drive Thru Success!

          Roxanne Quinones, a grandmother caring for her family, graduated earlier this year before the pandemic took over the world.  LearningQuest wanted to make sure that Roxanne and the other 87 adults who earned their High School Equivalency diploma since last Fall were still able to experience the once-in-a-lifetime moment of a graduation celebration.  Their accomplishments were acknowledged at LearningQuest’s first drive-thru graduation on Thursday, October 1st, in the CrossPoint Church parking lot.

          LearningQuest staff welcomed graduates with posters, pompoms, music, and balloons as they arrived to receive their certificates.  Families followed in their cars with screams and honking horns as they cheered on their graduate.  Community-focused organizations and individuals, like MID, VBC Bottling Co., and state representatives, also supported this moment for the LearningQuest graduates.  This celebration was a success as adults, like Roxanne, who’ve worked hard on their goals saw that there is a community of people applauding their commitment to changing their lives.

 

“When you have a goal set in mind, GO FOR IT, regardless of your finances and home life. There are so many programs out there and LearningQuest has made ways for us to complete our goals and to do so within ways that meet our means. We allow ourselves to let things we are struggling with get in the way of our goals and you have to use your determination to get through it. It is hard, but it can be done.”  – Roxanne Quinones

Check out all the photos from the LearningQuest’s first drive thru Graduation in the Facebook photo album below!

2019-2020 LearningQuest Graduates

Juan C. Albor

Augustine Alonso*

Abelino Alvarez

Sergio Alvarez*

Jaklin Amiri

Rosario Banuelos

Claudio Barron

Sibei Becerril

Juana  Cabrera

Juan M.  Calixto*

Mallory Cantu

Rosalia Cardenas Gonzalez

Maria Cervantes

Richard Chavez

Michelle Cimino

Elizabeth Dehart

Celia Diaz

Juan M.  Dimas

Trina M. Duenas

Shawn Elliott

Libier Escamilla*

Diana Isela Estrada

Vincent Fernando

Tyler J. Fite-Parks

Maria Del Carmen Flores

Idania Fuentes

Juan  Garcia

Rigoberto Garcia Medina*

Tonatee Gentry*

Johnny Gonzales

Maria  Gonzales

Abigail Gonzalez

Beatriz  Gonzalez*

Guadalupe Guerrero

Laniza Guiang

Monica Gutierrez

Xane Z. Hernandez

Larry Hinkston

Jason House*

Delilah Hurtado

Yessenia Jimenez

Chethan Kommu

Vanessa Laccetti

Michael Lane

Miguel Lopez

Rigoberto Lopez

Jose Lopez

Anthony Mancilla

Jordan Masangcay

Jazmin  Melgarejo Luna

Virginia Melius*

Hayry  Mineo Sauceda

Michael Modaresi

Christopher Morales

Heidy Moscoso Monroy

Theresia Ngefor

Benjamin Nunez

Rosalba Ochoa*

Estella Ortiz

Aida Pablo

Jerymia  Parker*

Karina Pineda

Roxanne Quinones

John Rainey*

Ana Karen Ramirez

David Ramos*

Alice Razo

Jennifer Rocca*

Jennifer Rogers

Moises Rosas Diaz

Yajaira Salinas

Alberto Sanchez

Jonathan Sangster

Paul Segovia*

Tyrone Smith

Melissa Soto*

Emily Souza*

Jose Toledo

Bethany Tyler

Guadalupe Valverde

Tatiana Vargas

Adela  Vera

Luz del Carmen Vilchis

Michael White

William Williams

Nathan Willis

Brian R.D. Woody

Ramon Zavala

* Graduated with Honors

Domonique’s New Journey

          Sometimes even the most unexpected opportunities can inspire us.  For Domonique Johnson, that inspiration came long before she began volunteer tutoring with LearningQuest in 2019.  Domonique has been a devoted helper in the community for years having volunteered at the Great Valley Museum since 2016.  She previously worked for a local restaurant where many of her coworkers did not speak English as their first language and did not have the time or funds to learn.  Domonique saw that they greatly wanted to be able to communicate with their peers, supervisors, and even their child’s school.  Her 12 years there made her realize that her path was going to take a new turn, she said, “When I stopped working in restaurants, I wanted to be part of an organization that supported people like my coworkers.”

          One of her friends, a past tutoring student, mentioned LearningQuest the day before Domonique coincidentally met an LQ team member at an outreach event.  She signed up to be a volunteer tutor for LearningQuest’s Adult Literacy program the next day.  Domonique said, “Everyone at LearningQuest is so enthusiastic, compassionate, and kind.  It feels like a really special community and I wanted to be a part of it.”  Little did she know this opportunity would set her on the path to gaining new experiences.

          It didn’t take long for Domonique to feel right at home.  She was helping students learn to read at the library and then helping adults practice their English speaking skills at LQ’s English Cafe.

 

“I love helping students!  Tutoring feels truly collaborative.  Building that relationship and seeing students clearly stating their goals and continually working towards them keeps me committed.”  – Domonique Johnson

 

          Domonique continues to help her tutoring students reach goals and has since also become an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor in LearningQuest’s Family Literacy program.  She has grown to love helping others learn that she’s started a new journey of her own, Domonique says, “I have enjoyed my experiences tutoring and teaching so much that I have decided to become a teacher! I am currently in a teacher credential program at Stan State.”

          Domonique has some words of inspiration for adults in the community uncertain about restarting their literacy journey, “It’s so easy to feel self-doubt when learning something new, especially something as challenging as language and literacy.  Acknowledging that you need help and making that call are the hardest steps.  Everyone at LearningQuest wants you to succeed and will work hard to help you reach your goals.”

Domonique Johnson
Domonique with her student, Phebe, and Adult Literacy coordinator, Rose, at the 2019 Literacy Network's Celebrate Literacy Awards

Domonique with her student, Phebe, and Adult Literacy coordinator, Rose, at the 2019 Literacy Network’s Celebrate Literacy Awards

Roles Reverse for Tanisha

Tanisha with her son
Tanisha Smith

         As a child, Tanisha Smith had many obstacles to overcome on her educational journey.  Her timid and shy personality prevented her from asking for help and led to struggling in all of her classes.  Despite Tanisha’s desire to succeed, she felt lost.  Many years later, she found her voice and stayed determined enough to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting at CSU, Stanislaus.

         That feeling of struggle and achievement motivated Tanisha when roles reversed and she went from student to teacher while homeschooling her two sons for eight years.  Wanting to forge a better start for them, she encouraged them to always seek help and ask her questions.  Since she had that personal teaching time with them, Tanisha began to notice that her eldest son was struggling with reading and he was soon diagnosed with a language disorder.  She tried many programs and school resources, but her son just wasn’t progressing as expected.

         Tanisha found KidsQuest, LearningQuest’s one-on-one tutoring for children with dyslexia and other language disorders, and began to quickly see her son’s reading levels improve using the Barton Reading and Spelling program.  With how the program approaches learning, she also found a new understanding of reading and writing herself.  When her son had questions, Tanisha was relieved to no longer have to tell him, “Oh, that’s just our crazy English language.”  She was so moved by her son’s improvement and learning she experienced as a parent that she became a tutor.  Now, Tanisha is able to find even better ways to support her son’s learning and help many other KidsQuest students reach their own milestones of reading success.

 

I am motivated, focused, and determine to watch each of my students grow confident in their abilities.  I want to make a difference, hoping to make learning fun, so they will have a passion to learn.”   – Tanisha Smith

 

         Tanisha stays dedicated to creating a space for students to  reach new levels of learning and find their own voice while she tutors.  To those who support LearningQuest programs, like KidsQuest, Tanisha says, “I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dedication and compassion to help increase the confidence in our children, so they can shine when they are ready to enter the world and stand independently as proud individuals.”