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Learning Quest 2015 Awards Announced


LearningQuest to Honor 2015 GED Graduates and Literacy Award Winners at
Annual Awards Night on September 11

Friends and family will gather Friday, Sept. 11 to witness 60 adults crossing the stage in cap and gown to receive GED certificates earned through their studies at LearningQuest – Stanislaus Literacy Centers. In addition, literacy volunteers, students and staff will be recognized with these awards:

Tutor of the Year for Literacy – Denise Nordell
Nordell has been a volunteer tutor for the past ten years. She did it at first to honor her father who had tutored in the jail and that was a place where she also tutored for a time. One of her students earned her GED. Now, Nordell meets with two students at the Modesto Library. One is improving her English so she can get a better job and eventually go to college and another who began at a fourth grade reading level and has improved to a sixth grade level. She researched on her own the Barton Reading and Spelling System for helping people with dyslexia and uses it to tutor a young girl at her granddaughter’s school as well has her adult student. She also volunteers her time to help write and edit two newsletters for LearningQuest along with other marketing materials for fundraising and events.

Tutor of the Year for High School Equivalency (HSE) Diploma – Barbara Arney
Arney began volunteering at the Day Reporting Center for Probation in 2011. Since she had previously worked with at-risk youth, she was ready to accept this challenging volunteer position. As a retired school teacher, her extensive teaching experience gave her the skills and knowledge to help students at a more basic reading level up to those preparing for the GED test. She rarely misses either of her two days of volunteering except for vacations. Even while on vacation, she is thinking of her students and brings back materials she thinks will make their learning more relevant. One of her students recently improved her math and writing skills by four grade levels because of Barbara’s tutoring. Without her skill and faithfulness, the Day Reporting Center program would have struggled to help students improve. With her assistance, the program is helping students pass the GED test.

Best Effort in Literacy – Mary Mendez
Mendez came from Mexico in 1994 during her sophomore year in high school. She passed all her credits, but did not pass the writing proficiency test she needed for her diploma. A few months ago, she got her GED, but decided she wanted more fluency in her communication in English and wanted to be able to help her daughters with their homework so they could succeed in school and in life. She works very hard and her tutor who recommended her for this award said she does extra homework and constantly pushes herself to succeed. She plans to go to college and pursue a career in IT.

Most Improved in Literacy – Laura Rodriguez
Rodriguez began attending the literacy program at the Adult Basic Education Center in December, 2013. She is working hard to improve her reading so she can eventually pass the GED test and provide a better life for her two daughters. On her last test, she improved 10 points on her assessment for reading which is a significant gain. She is close to transferring into the GED program due to her progress and hard work. She said she learned from her father that “if you want something, you have to go get it because no one is going to hand it to you.”

Greatest Achievement in Literacy – Joan Jia
Jia came to the United States speaking some English but Mandarin was her native language. In spite of her limitations in English, she enrolled in college courses right away but wanted to improve her English grammar and vocabulary. She works with a tutor in the literacy program and her reading ability has improved from a seventh grade to eleventh grade level. She plans to become an accountant.

Best Effort in HSE Preparation – Pamela Roberson
Roberson attends classes to work on her high school diploma but is still at the stage of improving her math and reading skills. Both have gone up over 10 points which is significant. At first, she was attending classes as a requirement for probation but now attends because she wants to improve her skills. She and her son do their homework together and she is teaching him through her example how important education is. The obstacles she has faced to get to the life she has now were enormous and her tutors are very proud of all she has overcome and accomplished.

Most Improved in HSE Preparation – Isela Cardentas
Cardentas moved a lot in her life and by middle school, she was behind in her studies and dropped out. However, she could not find a good job to help her family, so for the sake of her children, she came to LearningQuest to study for the Spanish GED test. She didn’t know how to divide let alone do algebra and geometry. She has now passed all her tests and has her diploma and a new job at Amazon.

Greatest Achievement in HSE Preparation – Laura Soto
Soto was determined to meet her educational and life goals, the first of which was to earn her diploma which she did by attending Spanish GED classes and extra tutoring sessions four days a week while also being tutored in reading in English two days a week in another LearningQuest program. She has passed the test for her diploma, continues to work on her English, got her driver’s license, volunteers at her son’s school and recently got a job.

The annual awards night will take place at CrossPoint Community Church in Modesto. Friends and supporters are invited to attend. Please call (209) 522-0656 for reservations.

Learning Quest is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education to adults for a better tomorrow. Free or low-cost instruction in reading, writing, math and English is provided by a combination of staff and more than 250 volunteers. LearningQuest receives funding from public and private contracts and through donations from businesses and individual donors. Nearly 1,500 Stanislaus County adults were served by LearningQuest programs last year.

Information: Karen Williams, Exec. Dir.
(209) 522-0656 kwilliams@lqslc.comkwilliams@lqslc.com>

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