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Reynaldo Espinosa

Description: Musical introduction with Students Succeed logo. Video shows Reynaldo teaching in computer class and frosting a cake a the bakery. 

Narrator:  Reynaldo Espinosa spoke no English when he came to this country from Nicaragua. Through adult education, he gained the skills needed to enter the work force.  He then returned to his former school as an instructional assistant to help others learn English and better their lives.

Description: Vittoria is interviewed in her cluttered classroom. She is a young woman with short dark hair wearing a white sleeveless blouse.

Vittoria Abbate-Maghsoudi, Vice Principal: Reynaldo has been a student with us for many years. Long before I came here, Reynaldo actually started his English education here. He came to the United States from Nicaragua, not knowing any English and had a real need in order to get a job and raising a daughter to help support her in school and with her homework.  So, he has been very committed to really making this a priority in his life.

Description: Reynaldo's interview takes place in the same cluttered classroom. He is a young Latino man wearing a dark green shirt. Video is shown of the Toots Sweet Bakery entrance. The display case is filled with delicious looking cakes. Reynaldo is an expert cake decorator and is shown frosting and decorating a chocolate birthday cake. He uses a pastry bag to write "Happy Birthday" on the cake. Video is also shown of Reynaldo helping students in the computer class at the adult school.

Reynaldo: So when I came to this country, one of the main obstacles was to communicate with people, you know, because of the language barrier.  I enrolled in this school in the morning and the afternoon classes and in the evening. So eight months later, I was ready to go join the work force in this country. I had a friend and he introduced me to one of the owners of a pastry shop in Antioch. I went over there and he got an interview with me and I got the job and so that way I ended up doing cakes – things I thought I never would do in my country.  When I was at home I was thinking about this school, so I came over here and I was a volunteer for almost a year.  Because I was feeling like I owe something to this school, and I see all the students. They were having all the same problems that I was having before so I just want to help them. So, I stay for almost a year and half as a volunteer, every single night, helping these guys, like somebody else helped me before.

Description: The video interview with Vittoria continues.

Vittoria: He was already doing some things for us here and there and giving us some help, as I mentioned, in the classroom, so we decided to encourage him to apply for the position and he did and he became a senior instructional assistant.

Description: Interview with Reynaldo continues and he smiles when he talks about the students in class recognizing him as a past student.

Reynaldo: Then there was an opening for the ESL Aide, so I decided to take the job. And I'm here, helping almost two years with the same teacher that used to teach me English. There is a couple of them who recognize me when I was a student and now I'm with them, helping the other students.

Description: Reynaldo carefully watches over the students as they work on the computers in class. He works one-on-one with the students as they need his help pointing out different things on the computer screen.

Vittoria:  We have seen Reynaldo grow in his ability and his willingness to try new things and really support students in the classroom has been just phenomenal. The students love him. The teachers love him. We have teachers who really don't want to work in our learning center unless they know Reynaldo is there, so I think that really says a lot about his following already. He's really been a model to the students. When they see him working with technology, they all get the feeling that if Reynaldo is really doing this well, I can do it. He's going to show me how.

Description:Interview with Reynaldo continues and speaks longingly of his wish to continue his education and get his degree. He is also grateful for what he has accomplished so far.

Reynaldo: Well, one of my main goals was to go to university to get a bachelor's degree in computer science, but I still have this same dream, one day to have my degree but if I can have a scholarship.  Maybe someone can look as this video and send some money. (laughing)  I would quit my job and go back to classes and do something. I do it as a personal goal, not because I want to make more money. I wish I can have the certificate or the diploma for me and say to myself that I did it, that I succeeded in my life. I'm a living proof that things can be done when you set your goals. There is no excuses when you want to learn. If you want to be in the path that you want to succeed, you're going to do it.  Some of the effort and sacrifices, in the end it takes it's toll, it's gonna pay better. If you learn English and if you succeed in this country, you're life gonna change; it's gonna be better for themselves and for their family.