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Student Success Story

Submitted By: Ka'Ryn Holder-Jackson, San Mateo Adult School
Consortium: Accel San Mateo County

Meet Mario

Program Area(s): Adult Basic & Secondary Education, English as a Second Language & Citizenship

The Challenge

Mario grew up in a humble family in Guatemala. When he was five years old, his mother left him with relatives while she came to the United States to search for better opportunities. Marion moved to the United States in 2008, at the age of 22. Adjusting to life a new country provided many challenges for Mario, but his biggest concern was learning English.

The Solution

His mother told him about the programs at the San Mateo Adult School and encouraged him to enroll in the English as a Second Language classes. At first Mario was afraid to communicate, but he quickly learned that he was the one responsible for his own success. One of his teachers told him, “Mario, no matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress. You are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying. You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.”


After completing the ESL program, Mario went on to complete the high school diploma program. While a student in the program, he served as a board member on the student council. He graduated in June 2017, and spoke at the graduation. He received a scholarship and is now a student at Canada College, where he plans to study psychology or nursing.

Supporting Information

View the text of Mario's graduation speech - Adult Education Matters