A few years ago Kenyell Mulkey was a teenager who did not think school was a priority. Her life suddenly changed at 17, when she found out she was pregnant. After the birth of her son, Barrett, Kenyell quickly realized that her lack of education made it impossible to adequately provide for her son. "Barrett is my inspiration," Kenyell explained, with excitement in her voice. "I can't give him the life I want him to have unless I go to college."
Before she could reach her dream of a college education, Kenyell had to face the fact that she needed to complete more than 70 credits to earn her high school diploma. She enrolled at Napa Valley Adult Education in May of 2010 and worked hard to complete her credits by Christmas. Kenyell settled on the goal of becoming a registered nurse. Suddenly she didn't just want to graduate from high school; she wanted to be an outstanding candidate for the very competitive nursing program. In January 2011 Kenyell emrolled at Napa Valley College. She completed her first semester with a GPA of 3.82.
Kenyell not only walked across the stage and received her diploma in June 2011, but she also earned a scholarship. She plans to use her scholarship for books and gasoline. It is those not-so-little expenses that make attending college a challenge, and frequently make it impossible to stay in school. Even a small scholarship can make a huge difference.
There are many people like Kenyell Mulkey, who come to Napa Valley Adult Education with the dream of continuing their education in hopes that they can make a better life for themselves. Your business or organization can make a difference in a life by donating to the Napa Valley Adult Education Scholarship Fund.
Deisi Ortiz had a baby daughter at age fourteen. Before that, she was pretty rebellious, and not very motivated. She ditched school a lot.
She got a second chance and seized it. Deisi entered the New Beginnings Program at Napa Valley Adult Education. Through diligence and a lot of hard work, she graduated this week and received her high school diploma. “Since I became pregnant, I started liking school and it was more interesting to me,” said Deisi, quite pleased about her achievement.
The New Beginnings Pregnant or Parenting Teen Program at Napa Valley Adult Education offers all the regular high school requirements and there are choices for how long it takes to complete the course. Deisi finished in a year and a half.
“I really liked it because I got help from Karen Valentine, the teacher there,” said Deisi. “I also liked it because I got to work at my own pace, and even though I am not there anymore, Karen still helps me.” “Deisi was a joy to have as a student,” said Karen. “She was asked questions and wanted to learn the subjects. I know she will be very successful in her chosen career.”
So what was her motivation? Why the change of heart? “I was thinking about my daughter and what kind of future I wanted for her,” explained Deisi. “I thought if I keep on going with my education, I can provide her with everything she needs, and give her a better life.”
Deisi’s daughter, Monica Daniela, is now a year and 10 months old. “Luckily my parents have been supporting me since I had my daughter, explained Deisi. “At the beginning my parents were very upset of course, and now they love Monica as if she were their own daughter. My parents always gave me whatever I needed. Especially love, and the whole family loves my daughter.”
So what about being a teen mother? “What can I say? It is really hard. Sometimes I thought, ‘I’m never going to finish. I am never going to make it!’ And there were times when I said, ‘I am strong. I know I can do it. I just know I can do it with all the support from my family!’”
Deisi has no regrets and her parents are very proud. “My daughter is going into her terrible twos, and she wants everything her way,” continued Deisi. “Her favorite word is ‘no’, so she says ‘no’ to everything! Being a mother is hard because I am so young, but my mom helps a lot. If it were not for her, I would not be where I am right now. I would probably have dropped out of school. I am thankful for her and my daughter. I am really happy with myself.”
On to the next step: Deisi qualified for financial aid and is now in the Certified Nursing Assistant program (CNA) at Napa Valley Adult Education. She goes to Napa Nursing for her clinical work and completes her classroom studies at the NV Adult Education campus, where her daughter attends the day care program. In the evening, her mom helps with Monica when Deisi does her homework. The next big hurdle now is passing her State Board exam, then on to a job in the medical field.
The road ahead: Eventually, Deisi plans to attend a police academy and become a CHP. The Certified Nursing Assistant program will lead to a job, which leads to the police academy, which leads to becoming a police officer. That’s the plan and that’s the road ahead, step by diligent step.
Deisi Ortiz graduated Tuesday, June 7th among 100+ graduates at the 35th Annual Napa Valley Adult Education High School Graduation and Scholarship Ceremony. She also received the Memorial Frank Silva Scholarship Award. Frank Silva was a former NVUSD Teacher and Administrator and the scholarship was given in his honor.
Congratulations Deisi and all the graduates!
2013 Scholarship Applications
The Napa Valley Adult Education Scholarship Fund awards college-bound students with scholarships of $250, $500, $1000, and $5000 to use toward their college expenses. We also have a general scholarship fund that allows us to award on-going scholarships. As we know this may be a difficult time for you as well, we ask that you give whatever you can afford to help a deserving student continue his/her education with your tax-deductible gift.
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