Jose Hernandez Adult Learner
Jose's Story: Perspectives from a CI TASC Program Student
Community Impact’s TASC Program, recognized by the New York State Department of Education as one of the most effective high school equivalency programs in the city, serves nearly 500 people every year—that is hundreds of New Yorkers earning access to higher education and better jobs with help from the comprehensive adult education resources available at CI.
25-year-old TASC Program student Jose Hernandez’s long path was not without its obstacles—learning English and becoming accustomed to a new country and culture among them. He faced these challenges with determination and good humor, and his teachers quickly picked up on Jose’s motivation and his extraordinary progress in math and language arts classes.
After two years of study with the program, Jose was ready to take the TASC exam this spring.
Jose has been kind enough to share, in his own words, his experiences pursuing an education and a brighter future:
I was born in a small town outside of Oaxaca, in Mexico. There, I grew up under the care of my loving grandparents and attended local schools from kindergarten to 6th grade. At an early age, I learned how to make a living by mango farming with my family. I was taught how to forecast production, determine mango quality, and harvesting techniques. So, should you ever encounter a high quality mango from Mexico, there is a good chance it came from my hometown, Chahuites.
After my grandmother passed away, I was asked to move in with my mother and her new husband. Although I lived with them for three years, it was not a positive environment, so with the help of an uncle and a cousin I moved to the US.
At age 14, since I could not be hired in full-time positions, I found a part-time job washing and grooming vegetables in a local store. My first English words and sentences were all about vegetables.
One evening in 2011, after listening to a friend agonize about dead-end jobs, I reflected on my own situation. I realized that furthering my education was imperative. A few days later I heard about Community Impact, and I signed up as soon as I could. I started classes two weeks later.
The instructors at Community Impact are passionate and understanding, and the coursework is challenging. In the beginning, I remember not being able to formulate sentences and paragraphs correctly. On one occasion my teacher Amy Lippman, saw my frustration. She took me outside the classroom and reminded me of why I was attending class in the first place: to get into college. She told me that being angry with myself would be detrimental to my success. I had to accept that writing was another challenge for me to overcome.
Community Impact has not only helped me achieve academic goals in the areas of reading, writing and math, but through the “Core and Community” program, a series of seminars conducted by Columbia University professors, I was exposed to the history and philosophy of Contemporary Western Civilization. It was a remarkable and enlightening experience. The lessons I learned through our classroom conversations have broadened my horizons and will surely effect my future decisions in a positive manner.
As for the present, I passed my TASC exam with scores well above the required minimum!
The lessons I learned through our classroom conversations have broadened my horizons and will surely effect my future decisions in a positive manner.
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Mario Alvarez, CC '14ESOL Program Coordinator, 2013-14