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Adult Learner Success Stories

Raymond Lopez

Adult Learner, Torrance Adult School

The Challenge

In August of 2016, Raymond Lopez came to our Orientation at CAJ and met with one of our counselors to discuss what program he might be able to do. Raymond was a dislocated worker and on Disability, he was seeking a new career and was new to Adult Education. Raymond enrolled into the medical assistant program that started October 2016. All new students take a 3-week course in Customer Service before they enter their primary classes. I am updated as to how many students I will be having in my class and upon knowing this information, I make a point of visiting the Customer Service class, introduce myself so the students would know who I am and could recognize me on campus. I was told I had three young men starting and one was rather tall. As I was speaking to the class I noticed a taller young man and said to myself that has to be Raymond, as it turns out, it was Raymond. Entering into the medical assisting program is tough and takes a lot of memorization as well as taking tests, doing procedures, memorizing 200 drug words over and over along with medical math, daily homework and keeping attendance and grades up.

When new students come into the medical assisting program, I ask students to address the class, telling a little something about themselves, why they chose the medical assisting. Raymond’s story caught my attention. Raymond came to Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center because someone from Kaiser told him about the program on Lemon Hill Ave. and suggested he come to a Wednesday morning orientation, meet the instructors and take the reading and math test in order to enter a program of choice.

The Solution

Raymond passed the reading and math, he applied for financial aid because he was a dislocated worker and had been on disability which qualified him for Pell Grant and then applied for a scholarship that would help pay for the remaining balance. Raymond went through hoops to get into the medical assistant program. During the time Raymond attend the program, he received

‘Intent to Drop’ for his grades were dropping. Intent to Drop is a warning and gives the student an opportunity to improve so we try not to drop them. Raymond took this serious and began to improve his grades. His attendance was perfect and has been through this whole program. Raymond has overcome being beaten and having his skull crushed, suffered brain injury which impaired his thinking, memory, and speech as well as motor skills. Raymond was a victim of a break-in at his apartment, he tried to stop the burglars and help his roommates but could not, and he was overpowered by physical force. He was beaten severely and spent 27 days in ICU. His mother, father, and sister were told he might not live and if he did, no one would know what permanent damages he would suffer if any. Raymond before coming to CAJ’s medical assisting program went through a tremendous amount of therapy, physical therapy; speech lessons after about a two year period decided and tried to work. Raymond day by day held on to his beliefs he would be successful one day even working through his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This young man is a miracle and a wonderful student who has overcome his depression, his fears, his head injury, he has broken his back, tailbone, shattered the scaphoid in the wrist, had several surgeries including brain surgery, repairing of his skull and then faced not ever working again as a laborer or hard physical work.

The Outcome

Raymond took his strength, put all his effort into this program, and is one of my best students, studies harder than anyone I’ve seen in a long time. This young man is an inspiration to all of us who complain that we can’t be successful. Raymond helps all the students, takes his time, offers to work with them and explains to them how he studies. Raymond never tells you no. You would have to be in my classroom and watch this young man. Raymond is completing the medical assisting program on May 15th and then doing his extern hip of 200 hours at Sutter Medical Foundation in Davis. Raymond’s math skills are 100%, attendance is 100% and his overall grade is 99% and his drug words are at a 100%. Raymond took what was given to him, made it work, fought hard to succeed and is on his way to becoming a great medical assistant who wants to give back all he has learned to patients because he was one that survived. His beliefs and strength gave him his life back.