Poway Adult School Student Spotlight: Jose Ernesto Quijada Hernandez

A man works in a bakery
Jose Ernesto Quijada Hernandez sprinkles powdered sugar as he finishes a cake while working in the kitchen of the popular French Oven Bakery & Cafe in the Scripps Ranch area of San Diego. Photo by Charlie Neuman

by Kathleen Vivaldi

Jose Hernandez had been living in the United States for a few years and was having a hard time learning English on his own. Then he moved to Poway, California.

“I decided to attend the free ESL (English as a Second Language) classes provided at Poway Adult School. In the beginning, it was difficult to get to class, since I didn’t have a car. I used to walk over 3 miles to attend school. But after a few months, I was able to see the progress.”

The ESL classes were motivating and Hernandez took the next step and enrolled in the school’s High School Equivalency course, where he could take the exam in Spanish. He studied, worked hard and, in October 2019, passed the test and earned his General Education Diploma (or GED).

Hernandez credits Poway Adult School’s flexible class offerings, which include day and evening options, and helped him fit school into his busy schedule. But his most heartfelt praise goes to the Career Resource Specialist and Poway staff, who supported him tremendously.

“The (Career Resource Specialist) helped me build professional skills and prepared me to take my GED test. The counselors were always there for me; the learning center, and staff were always there to help me. I just can’t thank them enough,” he says. “I am grateful to be part of the school. Everyone provides support in every aspect of the journey.”

In fact, attending Poway Adult School continues to have a huge impact on his life. Currently, Hernandez has returned to school, enrolling in Poway’s adult basic education program and continuing to improve his English skills for his career. While attending school, he is working as a lead baker and cake decorator at a popular local bakery, French Oven Bakery & Cafe. Hernandez’s ultimate career goal is to become a Registered Nurse.

If he was to give advice to others contemplating going back to school, it would be this: “Poway Adult School is a great option. Many people are afraid to go back to school due to many reasons, but Poway Adult School is open to anyone who wants to learn. School helps to get better opportunities in this country.”

Poway Adult School is one of almost 300 adult schools in California that are operated by K-12 school districts. California Adult Schools provide education, training, and support services to ensure that adult learners reach their education and workforce goals. For more information, visit https://powayadultschool.powayusd.com or call (858) 668-4012.