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Jose Rodriguez

Description: Music introduction with photos of José pictured in his cap and gown and at graduation with his family and friends. The video interview starts with him sitting in the classroom. He is wearing a dark shirt and yellow tie.

Narrator: José Rodriguez spoke no English when he came to this country. Through adult education, José earned his GED and became a U.S. citizen. After working in an adult school as a teacher's assistant, José followed his love of teaching and has gone on to earn his BA and Masters in Education.

José: I worked for a couple months at the California fields by Santa Maria, picking up strawberries, something that I hardly have good memories about. But then I noticed those people getting the respect and the things that they wanted by going to school and by learning English. Of course I was young, and I would say this is true. It sounds like a joke, but I always noticed that those people, or young guys like me, who spoke English, would get the best jobs, normally, would get the boss to listen to them, and also get the best girls, you know. So I said I gotta get me to learn English. You know, that was another good incentive.

Description: Elaine Sunoo is a small Asian woman wearing a dark blouse. She is soft spoken. Sue Daniels is an older woman wearing a dark jacket, green blouse, and pearl necklace.

Elaine Sunoo, Instructor: But the drive he has, the integrity; he's a hard worker, he's had to be. He had a dream and he never gave up on it.

Description: Photo shown of José at graduation with his family.

Sue Daniels, Retired Instructor: José had come out of the ESL branch. He finished his ESL classes. He was a parking lot attendant at the school and he was also enrolled in my class taking classes for his high school diploma.

Description: Jan Brittain is an elderly woman, retired from teaching, wearing a red jacket and dark blouse.

Jan Brittain, Retired Principal: When I arrived at Manual Arts Jefferson, he had already completed his ESL academic and gotten his diploma, and was in college. So they had hired him as a TA.

Description: Video interview with José continues.

José: So I became a teacher's aide and I was there is the class and I was really having a good time, and then Jan came in as the principal for Jefferson Community Adult School and then she started asking me to do different tasks. I got to know her and then I noticed she started always observing me. She was always like looking after me, which I appreciate. First, I was like, she's the new principal, she's coming to ask me for something, oh my God, you know, what does she want? (He said this smiling and acting as though he was afraid)

Description: Video interview with Jan continues and she is smiling as she recalls her story. A picture of a birthday card is shown and there is a photo of José and Jan on the card. She speaks fondly and proudly of José's accomplishments.

Jan: So, we persuaded him to stay in adult ed and then of course, I hired him as an academic teacher, a citizenship teacher. When I came to Venice, we hired him to be a part of the AWAC program at Venice, which he is still here and he just finished his Master's degree and is going into administration.

Description: Video interview continues and concludes.

José:  I definitely would like to go back to school and get my doctor's degree. But I, you know, well I shouldn't say but. Right now I'm enjoying my family too, my two children, my three-year-old, Noe, and my month-and-a-half old, Emiliano and my wife, or course, and my family. So I'm gonna take a little break into that. One of my goals is to become a principal or coordinator, work in curriculum and teach, because teaching is my soul, my thing that gets me going.