Davina C., 18, is one of the students in our Mendota, rural school. She describes her town as “friendly but limited because there aren’t many jobs available other than harvest work.” It’s not surprising since California is the largest producer of fruits, vegetables and nuts, contributing to more than $50 billion in revenue to the state. It takes millions of people to work the 25.3 million acres of farms and ranches – including rural teen students who struggle to attend high school. Mendota prides itself on being the cantaloupe center of the world…but working in agriculture isn’t a path Davina wants to take.
“I was attending a traditional high school outside of Mendota. I couldn’t always get to school, and my teachers didn’t try to engage or encourage me. I thought that if the adults in my life didn’t care, then why should I? I rarely went to class and ended up dropping out with 15 credits and a 0.2 GPA at the end of my freshman year.” noted Davina. “Fortunately, my mom and cousins convinced me to try Learn4Life in Mendota. The people welcomed and encouraged me. I was able to make my own schedule and keep working to help my family with expenses. After my first semester, I got a 3.48 GPA!”
“It shows how important it is to have someone care about you and encourage you,” Davina said. “Next month, I will be graduating and I’m proud that I have a job and a car at age 17. Until I found Learn4Life, no one challenged me to do this. I thank the support of my teacher, my mom and sister. I want to be a nurse, so I’m applying to colleges in California and Arizona.”