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Andrea Chavez

Description: Music introduction.with Students Succeed logo. Andrea Chavez walking down the hall of her office carrying a file.

Description: Young woman instructor, Ms. Telles, in her classroom.

Carmen Telles-Fox, Teacher: She had been working at a department store doing an early shift and I remember we had a little talk about how this job wasn't paying her very well but she thought it was great because if was full-time, it had benefits, and she had all these things.

Description: Young, Latina woman with long, dark hair and dark eyes, sitting in outside the adult school. Switches back to Ms. Telles in her classroom and then back to Andrea outside the school doing the interview.

Andrea: My goal was just basically trying to work, just continue to work When my home-study teacher, Carmen Telles, she mentioned to me about the new program that they had in the medical receptionist training, that they offered at the adult school, I was like, well that's too long, I can't take that much time off from work. I need money now.

Carmen: I said Andrea, how long can you do this? (laughing) This is actually getting your foot in the door to the medical field and it's a great opportunity and you're not likely to see another opportunity like this come about very soon.

Andrea: So she just basically, kinda opened up my eyes to see like, no I have to go back to school. I have to get a better education and that's when I decided. I went home that day and talked to my mom about it and my mom was like, yeah, you can do it. You have me here. The adult school offers a program where they can watch Christopher. They provide the daycare for you and they pay for your books so, it's like I had no excuse. I had no excuse at all. Like, okay, I could do this. There's no excuses. I could continue further.

Description: Andrea's mother is shown at home and walking at the school with her daughter. Exterior shot of the school.

Rosie Sierras (mother): She always looked into the future. You know, that's something that was so good about her. She always wanted to do what was better for, you know what's gonna make me better, and now when Christopher came it was, "What I'm I gonna do to help me and my son?"

Andrea: The Whittier Adult School that I attended was wonderful. I couldn't ask for a better environment. The teachers were very helpful. They had the job assistance and Debbie Mineau ran that.

Description: Young blonde teacher, Ms. Mineau, wearing a green shirt, sitting in the resource center with a number of computers in the background. New shot of Ms. Telles in her classroom.

Debbie Mineau, Job Developer/Placement Specialist: And, Andrea did stand out because number one, her attitude, it just shined through immediately. You saw just the desire to improve herself. She was excited about it. She's very reserved and she's serious but there was a light in her eyes that you could see "Yeah, this is for me. I really want to do this."

Carmen: And I remember for the most part her just being very serious and determined to get things done. There's not always a lot of humor when you have a baby and you're working full time and you're going to school full time. It was a tough life, I think.

Description: Carmen leaves her house with her son carrying a football and getting into the car.

Andrea: It was a great course and I would recommend it to anybody and I have recommend people over there and they've attended. So it's just wonderful.

Carmen: It's a very serious program, in a sense, because you're working with children who have children.

Description: Older gentlemen with silver hair and mustache, Mr. Rivera, sitting in his office.

Leonard Rivera, Principal: What we found out in 1997-98, is that those students, the teen mothers, were highly motivated to get work. The problem that they were having was that they really couldn't get into job training because of child care issues, because of a number of other things. If they did not have some type of program that gave them child care during training and after training, they probably weren't going to be successful. We found in Andrea's case, and in her class especially, we had the highest scores we've ever had in our training programs even though the kids were 17 going on 18 years old; their facility to learn was tremendous.

Description: Andrea shown leading a staff meeting and again outside the school

Lori Valdes, Director of Clinic Operations: Andrea, she just has so much potential. She's a great person. She is our leader within our department right now. I would like to promote her in the near future. I think that she has a lot to offer. She can go far and I hope that others follow in her footsteps.

Description: Andrea is shown playing with her son in the park, on the slide and the swings; photo of Andrea and her son, Christopher, in Hawaii, with the ocean in the background. She tearfully explains how her life has changed and is shown walking at the playground with Christopher closing with a big hug for her son.

Andrea: At this point, after completing everything with my education; I mean I'm still going further within my education, but all that I have accomplished. I'm able to do more activities with my son, travel with him, go to New York. We went to Hawaii last year, and that's something that I never thought I was going to be able to do. And so it's amazing to look back and say, "Wow, we did all these things," and the rewards you get from it, it makes me feel so proud of myself and seeing that my son is living a good life, and we're living a good life and we're not worrying about it. So, I know that I'm set. I'm okay.