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Joseph Grinnell

Description: Musical introduction with OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network logo shown. Adult Education Students logo is shown and 'California Adult Education Students Succeed 2011' is written underneath.

Description: A picture of Joseph Grinnell from Marysville Adult School is shown. He is an older gentleman with short hair and a mustache. He is wearing a white t-shirt. He is smiling in the picture. The picture fades into a video of Joe walking up the sidewalk to the school.

Joe is interviewed. Behind him there are black framed pictures of people hanging on the wall. While he is interviewed a video is shown of him talking with the principal in the halls of the school.

Joe Grinnell:  I went to high school in San Fernando at Sylmar High, just a town right next to San Fernando and I got, kind of, going the wrong direction and got using drugs and things like that and ended up getting in some trouble at the school there where I was expelled. Then I went to, when I moved up north, to Kings Beach California, I started attending Truckee High School as well but then just got in some trouble there as well and didn't continue to go on with my school at that time.

I've been in construction since that time in Kings Beach and all of my family was either plasters, my dad was a plastering contractor and both my brother-in-laws were carpenters so pretty much the handwriting was on the wall for me, especially when I dropped out of school. So I was in construction nearly all my life and still am, but then again there was the drug problem in my life. Just couldn't maintain any lasting sobriety and so this was a part of my life that seemed to just, kind of wrap itself around me and hold me back from the things that I really wanted to do in life.

So I came to Marysville in 1988 and began living right here. Actually about 5 years ago I began coming here to Marysville to the adult school and it was at that time I began, you know, getting acquainted again with just going ahead and wanting to get my GED and pass these other courses here.

Description: Tim Kelly is a middle aged man. He is wearing a teal dress shirt with a gold tie. He has short brown hair and a gray goatee. He is interviewed in his office. Behind him you can see a computer monitor and a wood desk with overhead cupboards. During Tim's interview a video is shown of him walking with Joe in the school. A picture of Joe's family is also shown.

Tim Kelly, Principal, Marysville Adult School: I think Joe was a typical student in the sense that he would start the program and then he would leave and then he would start the program and then he would leave because of these life circumstances and having to, he was a plasterer and so he had to raise a family. I think that in most subjects he did pretty well, except for mathematics where he had to get some extra help. He was here at night getting that extra help.

Description: Joe is seen walking up the stairs inside the school. The wall in the stairwell says "Welcome to Your Future and to Learning for Life. California Adults Schools". During the interviews various videos of Joe are shown talking to staff in the school.

Joe: There was a lot of challenges returning to school. A lot of it was mental, at this period of my life, thinking 'you're crazy going back to want to get your GED'. I started coming back around 50 years old and in-between work as a union plasterer, you know, there was times when I'd be off work, I'd be laid off. So I'd come over here, I'd register and get on the computer and start taking the courses again and then I'd go back to work.

Tim: Joe is someone who persevered through this program. Some would say 5 years is too long, I would say that's what it took Joe. For all the life circumstances that was in Joe's way, the fact of raising children, much by himself. I think Joe is one of those students that needed people to encourage him. That's the greatest motivator anyway, is encouragement.

Joe: I'd go back and I'd talk to Mary and Mary in the office or Tim or I'd see Billy, the teacher, and the encouragement level was so high here that it helped me to overcome any kind of self-doubt, to go ahead re-register again. They were so positive here, that you need to continue and preserver in this that that's exactly what I did. I'm now the Executive Director of the Twin City Rescue Mission here in town and I believe that had all to do with me pursuing the GED here.

Tim: I hope to continue to work with Joe in his new position that he has, see the kinds of things that we can do in collaboration with him. He's a terrific, terrific man and an inspiration to a lot of people here. So I want everyone to know, he's got the biggest heart I think I've seen in quite some time.

Description: Dana Vermillion is an older gentleman. He has short gray hair and a gray goatee. He is wearing a black and white plaid shirt, a black tie and eye glasses. While Dana speaks a video is shown of Joe talking in front of a mural and a picture is shown of Joe talking to 2 men at a table. Music plays in the background for the remainder of the video.

Dana Vermillion, Test Administrator: I couldn't believe what the man had been through and what changes he had made in his own life. It was astounding to me. I told him 'Now Joe, you're the most amazing individual because either one of two things is going on. You are really the real deal buddy or you're still a con man from the old days' and he looked at me and said 'well you get to choose, which do you think I am?' Then I saw him at work where he went when he's trying to affect the lives of others and there wasn't any doubt that he was the real deal.

Joe: I think some words were divinely given to me that maybe some of what I have gained by being here and that is 'The only one who fails is the one who quits' and that is my philosophy now.

Special Thanks to:
Marysville Adult School
Marysville Joint Unified School District