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Lourdes Cabral

Description: Music introduction with Lourdes sitting at a desk, typing on a laptop. Photo of a small Mexican town with dilapidated brick walls and crumbling buildings is shown. There is also a photo of Lourdes as a toddler and then as a teenager.

Narrator: In this small town where Lourdes grew up she was considered slow and accident prone. As a young adult, she finally learned the truth.

Description: Video interview with Lourdes begins. She is a Latina woman with full dark hair and dark eyes. She sits in her classroom. A photo of Lourdes as a teenager wearing a long pale green dress in shown.

Lourdes: I went to see an optometrist and he told me that I had retinitis pigmentosa and he told me that all those things that happened to me, the accidents, were due to retinitis pigmentosa and in a way I was happy to know that I had that because before I thought I was dumb.  I was like a child even though I was an adult and I had kids already, I felt that I was like a child.

Description: Ola Steenhagen is interviewed outside the school with the green leaves of the trees gently blowing in the background. She is wearing a dark suit with a pearl necklace and earrings.

Ola Steenhagen, Associate Professor: She came in one day to our office area and she looked like as though she were going to cry and I said, "What's wrong Lourdes?" and she said Greg Cusick, her Workability Counselor, who worked with her extensively, he really was the most important factor in her being able to succeed had told her that if she were going to really be able to be confident and have the life, the full life that she wanted for herself and her family, she would need to use a cane and begin taking public transportation.  She really was afraid but she set off the next day to take the bus and within a week she came in and she said, "You know, it was terrible the first day but now it's okay."

Description: Video of Lourdes walking down the street with her cane is shown. Jim Vincent is sitting in his classroom and speaks passionately about the role of teachers in an adult school.

Jim Vincent, Dean: And so, I think our job as people who work directly with people with various challenges, is to just be open to them as people, I mean, they've got a soul, they've got a heart, a mind, they want to learn, they want to be successful, just like all the rest of us and our job is to help them find that and develop it.

Description: Lourdes is shown typing on a laptop. She is smiling.

Lourdes: I don't know how to explain this but, something inside started to change.

Description: Video shows demonstration of CCTV with camera. Objects are placed under the projector so that they can be projected in larger version on to a screen for the vision impaired.

Jim: The first thing that we got her using was CCTV – it's a closed cable TV that runs from a camera that the student manipulates to a TV screen right in front of the student so that they can actually see the paper in an enlarged version on a TV screen.  Another thing that we have is what's called ZoomText, which is an in the computer program that basically blows up the screen and then the third thing that we used was a screen reader technology.  At the time we were using Window Eyes and what that does is, it basically by way of a computer program and then the student wears headphones, and it reads verbally the text that's on the screen.

Description: Video of both Zoom Text and the screen reader technology is shown.

Computer screen reader: At the airport on September 22 at 8:00 a.m.

Description: Continued video of Lourdes and Penny Pearson walking down the street. Lourdes is using her cane. She appears very confident in her ability to maneuver down the walkway. The video interview with Jim continues.

Jim: Her just opening up and blossoming and her enthusiasm once she found, that that these resources were accessible to her and then second just to watch her growth over time as she went through the program with Ola and it's just very rewarding to see a difference that transforms people's lives like that and that's kind of why I'm in this business.

Lourdes (with much emotion in her voice): And then I remember that the teacher when at the end of the semester she said write an essay and tell me how you see yourself in five years and so I wrote that I saw myself working in a office with computers, making money, helping my family.

Description: Video interview with Ola continues. She is smiling as she speaks about Lourdes and is very proud. A photo of the program where Lourdes spoke is shown. Her speech was entitled "A Light at the End of the Tunnel".  Pictures of Lourdes's certificates are shown.

Ola: We have a speaker series where people come from the business organizations or the community to talk to the students about successful workplace behaviors and preparing for finding employment, resume writing, job interviewing skills, and in fact Lourdes was one of our motivational speakers.  She came from her organization with her supervisor and they talked to the class about how she was successful in her education, and in her career search.

Lourdes (with emotion in her voice): Many times I read stories about other people doing things and I thought it was lies, that they were just making up those stories and when they say that people they come here to college to help, I thought it was lies, that it was just publicity, but I know now that it's the truth.