GCCCA My Story
Here is a small selection of the compelling stories from those have been part of GCCCA program:
Let me introduce you to Flor, actually more known as "florecita" (little flower) amongst her classmates.
Flor Cortes was born and raised in Mexico. As a daughter of Mexican parents who were in need of providing better opportunities for their family, they had to immigrate to the United States. Florecita moved to the USA almost 2 and a half years ago. Being in a country with a different language, different culture, different "everything," she realized how hard it was going to be to pursue her dreams. Flor was born with a physical disability on the left side of her body; however, she has learned to accept it and not to let this identify her. Flor's father worked in the fields, doing seasonal jobs, and traveling back and forth to Mexico to try to stay close to his children. He never stopped making sacrifices for his family. Both of her parents had tough jobs. They motivated Florecita to enroll in school, get her GED, and improve her life so their sacrifice would be worth it.
At age of 21, Flor enrolled and qualified for the HEP program. Flor was determined to achieve the 1st of her many dreams. With no car and no driver's license, she had lots of friends and classmates that admired her dedication and always supported her. They were always willing to give her a ride, other friends taught her how to use public transportation. Even her instructors were taking her places when needed. With Flor's disability, it was clear that she would need special accommodations for GED testing. All efforts were made to try to obtain the necessary paperwork, but unfortunately, the lack of resources and lack of medical insurance complicated the situation.
Flor was not shy about her physical condition and decided to try to test with no accommodations. Flor once said, "It was impressive how with one hand, I was able to type the essay for my Reasoning through Language Arts test." Flor had only 1 test left when the pandemic hit the United States and shut her school down (GCCCA). She continued to study at home, but in April of 2020 her father tested positive for COVID-19. The virus, combined with other health conditions, caused his sudden death. During the same month, Flor and her mother also tested positive for the virus. She was unable to take her last GED test and unable to make arrangements to transport her father back to Mexico to be buried where he had hoped. These tragic incidents only stopped Flor for a moment, but she gained the strength to keep moving forward.
When one of the testing centers reopened in June, Florecita came back to take classes via-zoom. She also took her last test and passed it on her first attempt. Flor did it! She is a mighty warrior! She immediately enrolled in ESL classes, and then obtained a job at a local McDonalds where she was quickly promoted to be on the front line. Her dream is to continue learning English, enroll in college, save money to take her father's ashes back to Mexico, and find a better job working with kids.
Flor told us, "I want to teach. I think I can be a good teacher." What she does not know is that with her example of dedication and how she has overcome many obstacles she is already teaching many people. Flor believes that her dad is proud of her achievements, and we wholeheartedly agree.