Beatrice first came to the Gonzales Learning and Career Center in 2007 intending to learn how to use a computer in order to advance her writing (Beatrice is a poet). Beatrice didn’t even know how to turn on a computer so after seeing an ad in the paper, Beatrice started going to the GLCC. Beatrice would drop in and out of the Center, coming for a few months at a time and then stopping for a few months. That changed earlier in 2012, when Beatrice was given a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals template. The goal sheets have motivated her to take control of her academic future.

Beatrice has a high school diploma but feels that she did not receive a good education when she was younger. “When I was a child I was led to believe that I didn’t have the ability to learn. But I am smart. And I can learn. So that’s what keeps me coming here.” Using the SMART goals, Beatrice is learning the basics over again and preparing herself for college.  She spent the past year learning geography and will start studying math in January. Learning has opened up the world for Beatrice. She explained how now when she watches TV and the news mentions a foreign country she knows exactly where it is and she isn’t lost anymore.

Beatrice has responsibilities that no other student at the GLCC has. Beatrice is an administrator of the GLCC Facebook page where she asks the Family Feud questions. She has LearnerWeb training (a learning support software system for adult education designed to help students meet specific needs and objectives), and now helps other students learn how to use the computer. Helping others like her is what Beatrice enjoys most about the GLCC “Because I was just like them at one time. Scared and timid and afraid and felt dumb.” Beatrice has come full circle from where she was when she first walked in the doors of the GLCC five years ago. Glowing, Beatrice told me how a new student at the center calls Beatrice her ‘mentor’. “It makes me feel real good.”

Beatrice is full of confidence in herself and her abilities to learn and go to college. “After this I know that in the fall I can go make an application at Victoria College and pass and sit down in one of the chairs at the school.” The Gonzales Learning and Career Center gave Beatrice hope for herself and her future and she expressed deep gratitude for the center and its staff: “The doors are never closed. [They are] very patient and very kind. They don’t rush you. They’re there for you. And the encouragement is above the most important thing.” Beatrice is surely an inspiration to the other students at the GLCC. “This year I just want to make it…and let other people know there is hope and there is life if you really want it.”