Sandra Chevalier, Bridge to Health 2014
Sandra Chevalier wanted something better. The mother of five, who was a high school dropout raised in foster and group homes, wished for more than another job at a fast food place. When she came to LaGuardia’s Bridge to College and Careers Program in 2014, she says "staff introduced me to a world of potential I never knew even existed for someone like me. They told me I could go to college and have guided me every step of the way.” Less than a year later, Sandra has earned her High School Equivalency diploma and is in her second semester at LaGuardia as a Veterinary Technology major. She now has a 3.5 GPA and mentors current Bridge students. Her future goal is to earn her associate in applied science degree and work in a zoo. One of Sandra’s joys is attending LaGuardia with her daughter, Mariah Diaz, a psychology major, pictured here.
Basil Thompson, Bridge to Business 2010
The GED Bridge to Business Careers Program helped me get the education I always wanted. It has prepared me for college and everyday life. I feel a lot better about myself.
Robert Morales, Bridge to Science 2012
After dropping out of high school in the 11th grade, Robert Morales quickly returned to school a few months later and completed the Bridge to Science Program, earning his High School Equivalency diploma in the Fall of 2012. But because of his financial situation and the fact that he needed to work, he had to take off three semesters before finally enrolling in college. This past spring he finished his first semester as a Commercial Photography major. With hopes of continuing his education and training at a technical institute once he earns his Associates Degree, Robert is determined. “I'm focusing on my homework as well as class quizzes and essays,” he says. “I want to graduate on time with a 3.0-4.0 GPA. I will do it.”
Modupe Marks, Bridge to Health 2012
If someone came to me three years ago and predicted that I would be graduating from LaGuardia Community College as an honor student and would be accepted by every four-year college that I applied to, with a scholarship, including New York University, Hofstra, Hunter, and Adelphi,
I would have laughed my head off,” says Modupe Marks, a 2012 Bridge to Health graduate. “I had just lost my business and was moving from one dead end job to another.… I was 41 years old and left school over 20 years before. Finally, I decided there was nothing wrong in trying for the GED.”
The Nigerian immigrant, a Psychology major at LaGuardia who also just completed a nursing assistant certificate program, graduated this summer with an AA Degree and plans to transfer to New York University, where she wants to study neuroscience. She has been on the Dean’s List every semester, is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, founded the college’s African Roots Society club, works with the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives on the Friends of Koch project that will be featured in The New York Times, and works on campus as an office assistant and tutor. She has even re-started her hairdressing and fashion designing business. “I still have a long way to go with my education and have no plans of stopping any time soon,” Marks says. “Now I know that I can do anything that I set my heart on because I had a good foundation through the Bridge Program.”
Chimey Palmo, Bridge to Science 2013
Chimey Palmo came to the U.S. as a refugee from Nepal four years ago. Now a permanent resident, she works full-time as a nanny to support her family back in her home country and attends LaGuardia part-time as an Occupational Therapy Assistant major. Completing the Bridge to Science Program and earning her high school equivalency diploma in the spring of 2013, Chimey recently finished her second semester at the college, using tools and resources from the Bridge Program to help her decide what her career goals were. “I would never be back to school without the awesome help of the Bridge Program team. The research we did in the course is helping me today with my college classes,” says Chimey, adding that she also got assistance from the staff on the admissions and financial aid processes. “I was nervous and confused about going back to school after nine years and in a whole new place far from my family. The program has helped me overcome those fears and made me feel cared for. Starting the Bridge Program was one of the best parts of my life, and I am very happy I am a part of the LaGuardia family."
Vinod Dowlani, Bridge to Business 2013
“Do you know what it’s like to hear the word ‘no’ over and over again when applying to jobs? I do. For many years I was working dead end jobs, not getting anywhere. I kept hearing ‘no’ because I did not have my high school diploma,” says Vinod Dowlani, a native of India. “This was the main reason I restarted my education: to have a better future.” Currently enrolled at LaGuardia as a Business Administration major, the 2013 Bridge to Business graduate, who is working and attending school full time, noted that the writing and math skills he developed in the program have been
very useful in his college studies. After earning his Associates Degree, Vinod plans to obtain a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and hopes to one day run his own company.