Record Breaking Graduation!

2019 grads

We have reached the highest number of graduates at one time thanks to all the hard work of our students, the staff who guided them and those in the community that believed in them.  These adult learners took the tests needed to finally earn their diploma and they got to enjoy the spotlight as they waltzed across the stage in front of ecstatic friends and family in the audience.  Congratulations to the 2019 Spring LearningQuest graduates!  We are all so proud of you and cannot wait to hear about what you accomplish next.


LearningQuest students graduated between August 24, 2018 – May 2, 2019


Grads returned to walk the stage during the ceremony


Friends, family, staff, volunteers shared the moment

These organizations partnered with us to bring together another once-in-a-lifetime event for the graduates and helped us continue to provide free high quality education for our students:

Sutter Health

Valley Farm Supply Stores

Paleteria La Michoacana


F&M Bank

Hilmar Cheese Company

Law Offices of Tom Hogan

Modesto Irrigation District

Oak Valley Community Bank

VBC Bottling Co.

 See graduation photos HERE

Award Winners

Amy Romero

Amy Romero

Awarded “Best Effort” for the extraordinary effort of overcoming challenges and committing to long-term educational goals.

Started with LearningQuest: Oct 2018

Became a graduate: Jan 2019

Favorite subject: Math

Words of wisdom: “Don’t give up, you’re worth it.  Shoot for the stars.”


Erin Boonstra

Awarded “Most Improved” for extraordinary improvement in skills needed for a diploma as the result of hard work, perseverance, commitment, and focus.

Started with LearningQuest: Sep 2016

Became a graduate: May 2019


Destiny Brown

Destiny Brown


Awarded “Greatest Achievement” for the overall extraordinary effort in pursuing education, achieving goals, and inspiring future graduates.

Started with LearningQuest: Jan 2019

Became a graduate: Feb 2019

Favorite subject: Social Studies

Words of wisdom: “Just keep trying! Even though it may be hard we are capable of things we never thought we could do.”

Graduate Speakers

Scotty Clark

Scotty Clark

Started with LearningQuest: Oct 2018

Became a graduate: Jan 2019

Speech excerpt: “I hadn’t been to school since the fifth grade.  I quit going to school in the fifth grade and started doing construction. I heard the voice in the back of my mind and it said, ‘Ric you don’t think too good cause I couldn’t answer not one of those questions.’ So I just put it [book] aside and thought, ‘There’s no way I could do this.'”


Alvaro Martinez

Started with LearningQuest: Sep 2017

Became a graduate: Dec 2018

Favorite subject: Math

Words of wisdom: “Que sigan sus sueños por que ellos tubieron el sueño de tener su diploma asi que tienen que cumplirlo si se puede no importa el tiempo pero si se puede lograr gracias a todo el personal de LearningQuest.” [That they follow their dreams because they had the dream of having their diploma so they have to fulfill it if it can be done no matter the time but it can be achieved thanks to all the LearningQuest staff.]


Bethany Saint-Smith

Started with LearningQuest: Dec 2018

Became a graduate: Jan 2019

Favorite subject: Writing

Words of wisdom: “Choosing to do great with what you have is how you become the best version of yourself, if you take your skills, apply your learning, take time to comprehend and ask for help, you will succeed.  If you want the good life, make it.”

VIP Guests

LQ Staff

Annual Report is Here!

The 2018 Annual Report has arrived!  If you haven’t already received it in the mail, take a look below or download a digital copy here!

All of us at LearningQuest would like to send a heartfelt thank you to those who support the programs necessary to help our students reach their goals and for trusting us to provide high quality education to the adults in our community.

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LearningQuest is a Finalist! Help us cross the finish line…


We survived Round 1 of Eliminations!


Thanks to all your support, we’ve made it through the first round of eliminations and are now Top 7 in the contest! Please continue to vote to help us get to the Top 3!

We need your help to cross the finish line… has chosen LearningQuest as a top-ten finalist for the national ProLiteracy Hero contest focused on organizations doing great things with literacy in the community.


The Top 3 Adult Literacy Orgs get…
  • Over $5,000 in New Readers Press adult education materials to be split between the three top finalists
  • ProLiteracy memberships
  • Conference scholarships to the 2019 ProLiteracy Conference on Adult Education
  • Southwest® Airline travel vouchers
  • Cash for their programs
These prizes will go a LONG way for our students and the free programs we provide our community!

Here is the video we submitted for the contest!

Read about the students whose stories we shared in our submission:

Juan: Changing for Better from English to Diploma

Arowa’s Promise

David’s Path

LearningQuest Staff = LearningQuest Graduates

 Let the voting begin!

Unlimited voting (YES, UNLIMITED) is open only from Oct 29 – Nov 4, 2018.

Each week the finalists will be narrowed down until the first-, second-, and third-place winners are selected on November 16.

You can see our contest video and story submissions HERE

This is a very big deal to have LearningQuest recognized on the national level of literacy service providers and we are going up against other amazing organizations.  We are humbled to be honored for the work we do every day and as representatives of courageous students.  Please take the time to VOTE (as many times as possible) here:

Thank you for helping us change lives, one student at a time!

Questions about the contest?

Contact: Rochele Roura-Foster
Program Manager of Development & Communication
209-672-6642 or

Wrapping Up the Summer ESL Class

Another successful class of adult-learners and families reaching educational milestones. Thanks to the support of Modesto Junior College and California Adult Education for making this class possible…here’s a quick breakdown of how the 2018 Summer ESL Class in Hughson went:

Great job everyone!




Classes from June to September
at Hughson High School

20 adult-learners served
18 children in the Kids Club/Family Literacy program
2 instructors
3-5 kids club staff


All students passed their Objective Test of communicating with their children’s schools


Students received books for perfect attendance, completing reports and making significant gains in their tests

All children received 2 books of their choice plus a certificate


Kids Club Educational Activity Themes:
National Safety Month
Fireman & Policemen
Ocean Animals
Rain forest

This class supported by:

Adult Education Logo New

Enrollment for Fall ESL Classes are ending soon, save your seat ASAP!  Contact Melisa Pena, 209-672-6664

Or click on the link below to find more info about our FREE English-as-a-Second (ESL) Language program

Gifts Doubled on #GivingTuesday!

Giving Tuesday 2018
Giving Tuesday Logo

Learn more about #GivingTuesday and the work being done around the world to change lives here:

So, what’s Giving Tuesday all about?

Giving Tuesday, more popularly known as #GivingTuesday, is a global giving movement that has been built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in countries around the world. Millions of people around the world have come together to support and champion the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live.

We have two days for getting deals – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On #GivingTuesday, we have a day for giving back. Together, people are creating a new ritual for our annual calendar. #GivingTuesday is the opening day of the giving season.

LearningQuest Giving Tuesday

…and here’s the BIG NEWS!

PayPal will be MATCHING $7 million in donations made to organizations, like LearningQuest, through our Facebook page for ONE DAY ONLY:  Nov 27, 2018.  

Facebook is also jumping on board by not charging any transaction fees that day too!

Every act of generosity counts and each means even more when we give together.

Anyone, anywhere can get involved and give back in a way that’s meaningful to them. There’s no minimum or limit to how people can do good.

If you’d like to double the impact of your gift, Nov. 27th would be a great day to do it!  Click on the button below to give back through the “Donate” button found on our Facebook page!

Remember: Only gifts made in Facebook on Nov 27th will be doubled!

But you’d like to give a gift now?  Great!

Your support goes directly toward student test fees, classroom materials, and more.  Thank You!

Fall LQ Connect is Available Now!

See the newest issue of the LQ Connect, a review of LearningQuest news and events that connect you with the lives you change!

Aside from reading about amazing students and what’s coming up this holiday season, check out the highlights from the Fall Graduation & Awards Night.  That event was made possible by the hard work of students, staff and the support of community partners, like Sutter Health.

Click the “Read LQ Connect” button to download the entire newsletter or view each page below!

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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.