In our classes, we often come across special students who are resilient, helpful, and passionate about learning. For many years, HBAS has recognized these students through the annual Lifelong Learner Awards Ceremony.
We were planning the 2020 ceremony when HBAS shut down for Covid-19, and the world has not been the same since. On April 12, 2022, HBAS staff, students and loved ones gathered at our Gothard campus to honor the 2022 Students of the Year. After two years of restrictions due to the pandemic, it was gratifying to celebrate our students on campus.
HBAS recently decided to rename the Lifelong Learner Award the Doris Whang Student of the Year Award. Steve Curiel introduced Doris at the ceremony, explaining “her hunger for learning is an inspiration for not only her fellow students but her teachers, her family, her friends, and community, including me.”
Our 2022 Students of the Year were nominated by their teachers. At the ceremony, each teacher had a chance to introduce their nominee and tell their story. Out of more than 3,000 HBAS students, these 12 stood out for their success in class and their commitment to education regardless of the barriers they face.
Meet our 2022 Students of the Year:
Hezekiah Bailey – GED Program, Nominated by Jesus Garcia
Hezekiah was medically discharged from high school during his sophomore year. He took a detour and headed to the HBAS GED program. Since then, he’s been working hard to earn his GED and hopes to pursue a degree in psychology or counseling.
David Bourne –Medical Assistant Program, Nominated by Alan Bell
David earned his diploma at HBAS in 2021. As if completing his diploma was not challenging enough, David also began the Medical Assistant program in April of 2021. Upon completing the program, David interviewed and was immediately hired at a local medical office.
Manerva Brown – Pharmacy Technician Program, Nominated by Allison Iglesia
After working in customer service for several years, Manerva was ready for a new career. She completed our Medical Billing and Coding program, then returned to pursue Pharmacy Technician training. After finishing at the top of her class, Manerva was offered a full-time position from her Externship site.
Jennifer Chavez Luna – Diploma Program, Nominated by Jim Turnbough
As a high school student, Jennifer had to drop out in order to work. Years later, she enrolled in our Diploma Program. Though her full-time and part-time jobs keep her busy, Jennifer still makes time for her studies. She is progressing steadily and is on target to graduate with us next year.
Thuy Dinh – ESL Program, Nominated by Debbie Quintana
Sixteen years ago, Thuy arrived in the US from Vietnam and challenged herself to learn English. She has grown from learning the English alphabet to writing complete paragraphs in her ESL Level 3 class. Thuy puts her full effort into participation, classwork, and homework.
Lori Dion- Diploma Program, Nominated by Ann Cosgrove
After dropping out of high school, Lori put her education on hold for 29 years to raise her family. When the pandemic hit and Lori lost her job, she enrolled in the HBAS Diploma program, determined to finish high school before her two youngest boys graduated. And she did!
Pablo Monroy – ESL Program, Nominated by Evelyn Jackson
Pablo initially lacked the confidence to go back to school but knew that improving his English skills will give him an advantage in life. A full-time construction worker, Pablo still makes it to class on time every evening. He knows learning English grammar is difficult, but Pablo has not given up.
Jesus Morales – ESL Program, Nominated by Pearl Cash
Currently working at a restaurant, Jesus is studying English in hopes of one day owning his own business. He learns quickly and immediately applies the technology skills introduced in class. Once Jesus feels confident in a skill, he gladly and humbly helps struggling students.
Thanh Tuan Nguyen – ESL Program, Nominated by Jim Turnbough
Tuan was a business owner in Vietnam before coming to the U.S. to provide a better education for his children. Although he arrived just seven months ago, Tuan has already established a business here. He presses on to improve his English and hopes to transition to college to study Business Administration in the U.S.
Xinia Rowin – Diploma Program, Nominated by David Alviso
Originally from Nicaragua, Xinia has always followed her desires to learn and help others. She has taken classes in our Career Training, ESL and Diploma programs. Currently working as a CNA, Xinia’s ultimate goal is to become a Registered Nurse with a bachelor's degree in Nursing Science.
Vilma Gianella Ruiz- ESL Program, Nominated by Debra Zdrazil
Vilma had only been in the U.S. for a couple of weeks when she enrolled in our ESL program. With dedication comes fast progress: in just 5 months, Vilma’s test scores went from Level 1 to Level 6! Vilma sees herself getting a master’s degree so that she can become a Special Education Teacher.
Daphne Wu – ESL Program, Nominated by Joe Eustermann
Daphne has been studying English at HBAS for three years. In addition to taking Academic ESL at HBAS, Daphne also started ELL classes at Orange Coast College. Never without a smile, Daphne leads discussions and conversations, asks pointed questions and welcomes new students with open arms.