March 25, 2024

Education Empowers: Paola Luna

Driven by her desire to secure better opportunities for herself and her two teenage daughters, Paola Luna made the courageous decision to immigrate from Mexico to the United States. Despite facing a language barrier, Paola’s vibrant energy, enthusiasm and passion for working with people were evident. Recognizing that communicating in English was crucial for her success, Paola took the initiative to enroll in workplace, career and technical English programs offered by the Sweetwater Union High School District Adult Education.

As a lifelong learner, Paola is determined to achieve her dreams and make a meaningful impact in the United States. She is motivated by the desire to inspire her daughters through her pursuit of further education and personal growth. Although her journey has presented challenges, learning English has empowered Paola in her current job as a cook in a school cafeteria. In this role, she has expanded her culinary skills by learning about cuisines from different cultures, and as she says, “serving children brings a smile to my face each day.”

Paola's story is a testament to her resilience and determination to overcome obstacles while embracing new opportunities. Through her hard work and commitment, she continues to grow personally and professionally, making a positive impact in her community.


Breaking Barriers

When Paola made the life-changing decision to move to the United States, she encountered a significant hurdle: her limited proficiency in the English language. Admittedly, this language barrier proved to be a source of frustration for Paola, as she was eager to fully embrace her new life and secure a livable salary. She recognized that being more comfortable with the English language was essential to succeeding and growing in her new home.


From Language Learner to Confident Communicator

To improve her English proficiency, Paola enrolled in classes offered by the Sweetwater Union High School District Adult Education Program, which utilized the Stand Out English Language Teaching curriculum from National Geographic Learning. These valuable resources played a pivotal role in strengthening Paola's comprehension of English, as well as her spoken English skills, equipping her with the necessary tools for success in the workplace. As Paola transitioned into her role in the school cafeteria, she experienced a newfound confidence in her ability to effectively communicate with her colleagues and interact with students.


Making Dreams A Reality

Paola has set her sights on several ambitious goals for the future. She aspires to continue her learning journey and work towards becoming a cafeteria manager, leveraging her passion for cooking and dedication to her profession. Additionally, Paola is determined to take a citizenship course and apply for United States citizenship. Drawing from her own experiences, Paola offers valuable advice to others on a similar path; she encourages them not to overthink the process but rather to take advantage of the numerous tools and resources available to help them prepare for the workforce and secure employment in the United States. With determination, perseverance and support, Paola believes that anyone can find success and achieve their goals.


Learn More

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Read More About How Education Empowers

If you enjoyed learning about Madison's story, explore more stories in our Education Empowers series: