From sewing to housekeeping, she worked many jobs before she could graduate high school. Sixty years ago, a Tijuana, Mexico student dropped out of school to support her family. The now 75-year-old grandmother has received her diploma.
Linda Ramirez completed San Diego Continuing Education’s (SDCE) High School Diploma/Equivalency program. The free course offers review in reading, math, spelling, writing, communication, and critical thinking in both Spanish and English to prepare adult learners for a high school diploma, or a test that can earn a California High School Equivalency Certificate.
Growing up in Mexico in the 1940s and '50s, Ramirez left her studies behind to make an income for her parents and late husband. When she became a mother herself she immigrated to San Diego.
For decades, Ramirez sacrificed her lifelong dream to make sure her loved ones earned the schooling they needed. To her surprise, in May, three generations of the Ramirez family walked in SDCE’s commencement including her daughter, Diana Vizcarra, her grandson Jesus Vizcarra, and her granddaughter, Noemi Cruz Perez.
“It means a lot that she graduated. I could see it in her eyes, the emotion she felt and the pride she felt in herself for such a great achievement,” said her daughter, Diana. “I feel inspired by her. She puts in so much effort for us. I am very grateful to her for all that she has done for us, especially my children.”
Before she retired, Ramirez spent most of her life working in the Hospitality industry. She said, “I can’t stand being home and just doing nothing.” She primarily enrolled in SDCE for socialization and later fell in love with learning again.
“Linda was the first one to arrive to class every day, sat in the front and was always ready to learn", said her instructor, Thelma Lopez. "It’s outstanding that she came with a lot of knowledge she learned 60 years ago.”
“I'm so excited to learn that I don't want to miss a day or be tired at school because of work, so I am going to retire again to dedicate all of my time to school,” she said. Following the diplomas, Ramirez will continue her studies at SDCE beginning with English as a Second Language (ESL) and Diana, Jesus and Noemi will transition to college.
SDCE has provided access to higher education and workforce training for immigrants and refugees for more than 100 years through free in demand career certificates, ESL and citizenship classes.
“SDCE is a rich representation of San Diego’s most marginalized communities. Our students are among the most diverse in California culturally, ethnically and educationally.” said Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., President of SDCE. “As adult learners returning to school, their courageous choice to enroll in SDCE after facing many hurdles in their lives will open doors to new opportunities for themselves and for generations to come.”
Students who earn a diploma or certificate from SDCE often transition to the San Diego Community College District, City, Mesa and Miramar colleges.