No stopping me now!
Jerlean always wanted to get her high school diploma but always feared the judgment of dropping out. She was a young mother at 16. She drove by our EPIC high school in Cal City several times but never went in.
Ms. Carney said, "I used to see the students outside the building and think I can't go to that school. I was concerned about the way people would judge me. After two years of driving by the school and talking to those hanging out in front, I met a student who was part of the Cesar Chavez Environmental Corps’ (CCEC) KSACC program (Kern Service & Conservation Program). I realized the great work FIELD (Farmworker Institute of Education and Leadership Development) was doing for my community. I was intrigued. He convinced me to enroll to get my high school diploma."
CCEC runs various projects which serve the community, such as emergency food distribution, assisting the Office of Emergency Services, and fire preparedness. The programs focus on education, the environment, and the community.
Jerlean completed her high school diploma with EPIC in 2019 and is now a licensed, certified nursing assistant. She has completed four semesters of nursing school at the College of Southern Nevada on the honor roll and with a 4.0 GPA. She hopes to pursue her master's when she graduates and would like to become a nurse. Ms. Carney is driven to help people and to be a better person for herself and her family.
Jerlean stated, "When Mr. Arevalo became the new teacher and had a different approach, I knew I was on my way to get my high school diploma. The ESL teacher, Mrs. Gaby Carroll, was such a big help too, always encouraging me to keep pushing. She was always available to help me with my work so that I could stay on track. FIELD changed me and my judgmental ways. The teachers and counselors are always professional and respect your history."
She is the first in her family to finish high school and is happy to be a role model for her four kids.
At the beginning of the pandemic, she started to work the COVID halls, but shortly after, her lung collapsed, and she had to stop working. She didn't want to have a gap in her education and decided to study to get her real estate license and is now waiting to take her state test. Her goal is to educate the minority community that they too can own a home.
Jerlean said, "I am grateful that programs like FIELD exist. They helped me find my strengths and find the love of learning. There is no stopping me now."