Sonoma Valley Adult School Students of the Year
The first of the three students honored by the Sonoma Valley Adult School in this, their last year of operation, was Julie Jones.
Jones came to the adult school in 2009 to brush up on her computer skills through the school’s Career & Technical Education Program. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Jones holds a life, secondary teaching credential for history and English. She retired from a 20-year career in marketing and promotion with ABC (KGO-TV) in San Francisco before moving to Sonoma.
Thanks to her new computer skills, Jones quickly found work, first at the Sonoma Ecology Center and now at Alain Pinel Realtors. During her time at the adult school, Jones was inspired by the tragic events surrounding the death of the Maloney family to prepare a notebook of key financial information for her family in the event of an emergency. Her notebook morphed into, “The Estate Documents Organizer,” an A-Z tabbed book that Jones published and now sells online.
Her adult school classes helped her to build a website for the book and she credits the classes with increasing her skills level and confidence in working with technology. Before the adult school closed, Jones herself taught classes there. She is credited by the staff as being a great example of the benefit of CTE and of community education at its best.
The second student honored as Student of the Year by the adult school is Jose Reyes Vallejo for his hard work in ESL (English as a second language) classes.
Vallejo started at the adult school in 1995, and over the years he has persevered with his studies and improved his speaking and writing skills dramatically.
He is known to be kind and thoughtful to his fellow students and to be a ready participant in classroom discussions and activities. Vallejo worked at Buena Vista Vineyards for 18 years after arriving in Sonoma from Mexico at the age of 17.
Today, he works for La Prensa Vineyards as a crew leader, a position with considerable responsibilities.
In 2009, Vallejo became a U.S, citizen and received an almost perfect score on the requisite testing. After seven years apart, Vallejo was able to send for his wife and two children to join him in America.
Julia Brown was the third student honored by the adult school as Student of the Year. Brown was honored in the category of Adult Secondary Education, High School Diploma.
Brown came to the adult school with more than a full year of credits needed to receive her high school diploma. She had recently moved to Sonoma with her parents and siblings and she had her heart set on getting her diploma. Brown took on a daunting workload and an accelerated schedule, determined to finish the credits.
Over the course of this past school year, Jones demonstrated tremendous productivity, organization and dedication and maintained a grade point average of close to 3.5. She graduated from high school in June, and in the fall, she plans to attend Santa Rosa Junior College.
She has mapped out a well-planned route to a career in nursing and the ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.
Congratulations to these hard-working and inspiring students on this honor and to their families and teachers for encouraging their academic and personal success.
This is the final in a series of articles profiling each Student of the Year honored in Sonoma during the past school year.