Test Takers from California



Speakers: Monica Balbuena, HS Equivalency Testing Coordinator, LA Unified School District; Robert, HiSET® Student; Beatriz, HiSET® Student; Andy, HiSET® Student; Robin, HiSET® Student.]

Speaker: Robert – My teenage years were about just partying and having a good time, you know, forget about school.

Speaker: Beatriz – I got pregnant, I got pregnant, so I had to leave school to raise my kid.

On-screen: [Monica Balbuena, HS Equivalency Testing Coordinator, LA Unified School District.]

Speaker: Monica Balbuena – A large number of students from the State of California don't have the credential to get them into a community college or to some sort of career technical training.

Speaker: Andy – I came from Hungary. I was born in Hungary, started working, you know, with minimum wages jobs.

Speaker: Robin – When I was 10, my parents sent me to California School for the Blind and that school at the time of my graduation was unaccredited.

Speaker: Monica Balbuena – My word to describe the students that come to take the HiSET®, I would say heroes.


On-screen: [ETS® HiSET®]

Speaker: Robert – So my actual dropout time was ninth grade. I am a recovering drug addict and I have been in recovery -- I just celebrated eight years. I met this beautiful woman and there was something about her and she -- she truly changed the way I thought and I felt. And she came to me and she said, look, since I am here doing -- at Mt. Diablo Adult Education, she is doing the Medical Assistant Program, why don't you come to school and we can see each other at lunch. She goes, do it for Bobby; that's my oldest boy's name. I gave it about two minutes of thought and I was signed up January 1. Being 46-years-old I was like -- I think I might have been the second oldest in the class, and I was nervous. I felt like I crammed in four years of school in four months. And the HiSET® came up and I went, oh. So I signed up and I did five tests and I did them in five weeks, every Tuesday. And then comes to the writing testing, and that wasn't my strongest suit. So I turned it in and -- and waited for, they said two weeks, but I found out seven days later and I was just like, I called my girlfriend and I was like, oh my God, I can't believe this, I am a high school graduate, and it was like, besides the birth of my children, all three of them, it was the most amazing point in my life. It was like, oh my gosh, I did it. Because of Christine Paden, I will be grateful and thankful for her teachings and just how comfortable she made me, and not just me, but everybody in that classroom feel. All right!

Speaker: Christine Paden – We have a HiSET® graduate; oh, I always ring the bell. Yay! Yay! Yay!


Speaker: Robert – Thank you! Thank you very much! Talking to them was just -- just to share, just a little bit of my story. I hope it affects just at least one of those -- one of those people in there. I am telling you right now, I mean this is worth it and that it will pay off ten-fold, hundred-fold in your life.

Speaker: Beatriz - I got pregnant so I had to leave school. My English wasn't very good as well, so it wasn't that easy. I couldn't find a job, yeah. My kids grow up, so I thought it was time for myself, to do what I really wanted to do. I decided to come back to school. I needed my high school diploma to enroll into college. I want to be a nurse. I want to become a nurse, that's the plan. I live with my two kids and my mother. My 19 and 16-year-old, when they saw me studying hard, they told me they were proud of me for doing what I was doing. Now I am working as a waitress. I work every night. It's hard to go to school and then go to work after. When I passed my HiSET® test, I was so happy. I felt like I was actually doing something for me. The teachers are really nice. They really care a lot. My teacher, she helped me a lot, yeah. And when I came here I told her I didn't know how to study, she helped me, she gave me books, she gave me websites where I could study. Now that I pass my HiSET® that I saw my diploma in front of me, I thought to myself, if I can do this, I could do more, a lot more.

Speaker: Andy – I came from Hungary in 2010, started working, you know, with minimum wage jobs, in hotel reception, not very good jobs, you know. So I live with my mom. She was a little bit pressuring. Basically she said to me, son, you are not going to get out of that circle if you don't go back to school. You are going to be stuck the rest of your life, and she is right about that. I said, okay, I have to go there. I have to get my high school diploma. My dream would be a Sports and Recreation Management Degree. Now, with that you can get many kind of job. You can be an athletic director in school, which I would love to do. You can organize a tournament for kids; I would love to do that too. You can be a coach. Being here in college, you know, it makes me feel closer to my dream. Never too late, especially in this country, never too late. I am trying to -- trying to make it to the DVC football team. You know, I still need a lot of work on that. So right now I am doing my -- some sort of cardio, speed and agility, it's kind of a mixed schedule I have; weightlifting also in the gym. Without the HiSET® diploma I could -- I could never reach that dream, you know. Without that, it's just -- that's the road.

Speaker: Robin – I was born with aniridia, absence of an iris. I went to California School for the Blind. So I graduated with a Certificate of Completion. So then I decided to go for my HiSET® and get more of that academic curriculum that I may have missed out on. I took the -- basically it was a HiSET® Prep Class, but they focus on basically the main curriculum, which would be Math, Science, Social Studies, Grammar, English. I went with the morning teacher. His name is Mike Gallo. And he was excellent with helping the students with what they needed. I was able to excel in math, where I had been lagging behind. I had a reader throughout the three years I was there, Cindy Louie. She would read me materials. She would write down what was on the board. She also was allowed to be basically my reader for the test. They are very willing to help you with the accommodations you need. By getting my HiSET®, it has allowed me to enter this program, Veterinary Assistant Certificate Program. And it's a two-part program, where the first part is academic and then the second half is they place you with an internship. The connection with animals, there's just this bond where I know it's there, I can feel it. As long as you set your mind on something that you really want, you can go out there and get it.

On-screen: [Expanding Opportunities. Changing Lives.]


Speaker: Robert – I have -- I have an education. I have opportunities. It's been an amazing road these last two years.

Speaker: Beatriz – I am starting to live my dream actually. Yeah.

Speaker: Monica Balbuena – They are putting aside their problems, they are putting aside their issues, and they are focusing on the future, and you have to admire them for that. I have been there, so I know.

Speaker: Robin – I had proven to myself that I could do it, which was a really great feeling.

Speaker: Andy – So HiSET® is the first step to accomplish your dreams, you know.


On-screen: [ETS® HiSET®. hiset.ets.org]

End of HiSET® - Group Testimonial Video.

Video duration: 07:59