Maricela Juarez: What once was a distant dream

Maricela Juarez, 45, has not lost hope to reach her dream of working in the Texas criminal justice system.

“I am working on my associate degree in criminal justice at Austin Community College and want to transfer to Texas State,” says Juarez. “I plan to work for the juvenile probation system, where I already volunteer working with troubled youth.”

Juarez can relate to kids caught up with making wrong choices. She dropped out of middle school and became a single mother of six at an early age. In 2013, when her youngest child entered high school, she decided to enroll in the GED program of ACC’s Adult Education Division.

“After 15 years of working at the same restaurant I realized I no longer wanted to be at a dead-end job,” Juarez says. “Adult Education changed my life completely.”

Adult Education changed my life completely”

With guidance from mentors, Juarez laid the groundwork for a successful college experience. She gained the confidence to take core curriculum/general education courses.

“Once I completed my GED in February 2016, I enrolled in the College Prep Program offered by Adult Education to get me ready to start taking credit courses.”

Through an internship in the Adult Education Division, Juarez acquired new skills to land competitive interviews in the Austin job market. She hopes others can realize it’s never too late to make change happen.

“I want to inspire students with what I’ve been through so they can see that education can help them get further in life,” she says. “The best memory I will take from Adult Education will be the great support and encouragement that has been offered to me.”

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