Student Spotlight: Sylvia Cleary

Sylvia Cleary is 59 years old and from Brooklyn, NY. She moved to Rochester with her husband in 2013. In January 2020, the Pastor at church introduced to Sylvia the idea of attending OACES. A goal of hers is to receive her HSE (High School Equivalency) and the Pastor knew Sylvia would be a great fit at OACES (Office of Adult and Career Education Services). She began classes that January and remained a student despite the pandemic.

At first, Sylvia was skeptic of her possible success at OACES. She did not think she was going to make it, but here she is, attending school part time to receive her HSE. When asked if Sylvia had any concerns about OACES, she exclaimed that she, “came here to be encouraged!” Although sylvia was nervous, she had faith in herself and the staff at OACES.

Since attending OACES, Sylvia’s Math skills have rapidly increased. She originally placed better than she thought, but Sylvia has also moved up in Math much faster than she anticipated. In addition to improving her Math, Sylvia’s reading skills have tremendously increased. She now feels comfortable reading on a computer to practice her reading comprehension skills.

Her favorite aspect of OACES is their model of teaching. At OACES, class sizes are small, allowing teachers to help students one-on-one. One-on-one academic support is essential to a student’s success at OACES. Sylvia has learned that she can do all the things she sets her mind to. Since coming to OACES, Sylvia has become more open minded and confident in herself knowing she is reaching her goal. Sylvia also recognizes and is proud knowing she’s acquired new skills under her belt socially and academically. She is excited about her future and can’t wait to see all that she is capable of.

When asked what Sylvia has achieved since starting classes, she replied with, “I’m learning how to be open to new ideas, one of those being, to know I can do it even when I feel like I can’t, and OACES game me the tools to do it…now I know”. Sylvia says coming to school has allowed her to know what is possible. People should not compare themselves to others while in school. Everyone is going at a different pace that is suited for them and their life. In order to be successful, students need to recognize this because going at your own pace is how people become successful. Sylvia loves being an OACES student because, “everyone has helping hands on deck”. Teachers, staff members, and classmates are all there to support students; it’s a community within a school.

Sylvia currently works at a Nursing Home part time while coming to school. Her plans for the future are to complete her HSE then take a vacation to celebrate her successes. Sylvia does plan on attending college for a year to receive a certificate in the near future.

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