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Determined for education Leslie Gonzalez

Leslie Gonzalez

Leslie Gonzalez

Up until a little over two years ago, all Leslie Gonzalez knew was in Mexico-her friends, her family, her school, everything.

She was originally born in Elgin, but at just three months old, her family had moved back to Mexico where she was raised for 19 years.

After experiencing Mexico's schooling conditions throughout her high school years, the now 21-year-old Elgin resident was grateful to find the United States school system a better fit when she returned two and half years ago.

“When people complain about the schools here, I'm like, 'Oh, you haven't lived in Mexico. You don't know the struggle,'” she said. Tuition was paid monthly and became very expensive. The buildings were in bad shape and the institutions provided very little resources and opportunities for students to get involved.

Being new to the country, Gonzalez knew that her English was not the best. Initially, she went to register for credit classes at ECC and took several placement tests, including an English placement test. She did not pass.

“I had to write an essay about someone who I considered to be a role model,” she recalled. “I did not have any trouble choosing one but I greatly struggled when it came to writing the essay.” Gonzalez's sister had been enrolled in the Intensive English Program and advised her to do the same.

After five months of speech, writing, reading, and grammar classes, she could see an improvement in her English. When she completed the Intensive English Program, she retook the English placement test, and by spring 2014, she started taking credit courses at ECC.

After graduating from ECC in May 2016 with an associate of arts degree, she plans to pursue a major in nursing, following her childhood dream of working in the medical field.

“All I knew was in Mexico but I'm getting used to this,” she said. “The only thing I don't like here is the weather.”  

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