Consuelo Moreno

Consuelo Moreno
After a 30-year break from school in which she moved to the U.S. and raised two daughters, Consuelo Moreno decided it was time to earn her high school diploma. She heard from a friend that Oakton offers high school equivalency preparation courses in Spanish. And now, a year later, she’s preparing to take the stage as the high school equivalency speaker at Oakton’s 2023 commencement ceremony.

When the time is right
“I decided to go to school once my daughters were older—it became a good time for me to study while they’re in school. The online classes in Spanish are in the afternoon, but that’s good for me because I helped with my daughters’ homework and they helped me a lot with my homework, too! My daughters are so happy and proud. When I got my GED diploma in the mail, I felt like I won the lottery. For some it’s just high school, but for me it’s big.”

One step at a time
Something so big can seem impossible. And for many students, taking that risk and planning all the steps that follow can be a challenge. That’s why Consuelo is taking it one step at a time. After finishing her GED, she began taking English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at Oakton.

“I like to work with kids and with people—I’d like to be in health or social work. But first I am going to study English. It’s hard to have too many things to do at the same time. You can get frustrated because you can’t be focused. So I remain calm and do it little by little. I feel the power and confidence to go on and do something new.”

A community of learners
Consuelo wasn’t in it alone. She had the support of her teachers and Oakton staff. But most of all, she found community with other students.

“The most enjoyable part was going to school with my classmates. We learned but at the same time, we had a good time. Normally, I stayed at home with the kids. Class gave me time to talk with other people. I enjoyed it a lot—they are very nice and we laugh a lot. Now that I’m finished, they call me and ask me for tips and I try to help them.”

The most powerful motivation
As Consuelo describes in her commencement speech—which she will deliver in Spanish at the ceremony—the biggest motivation for her will always be her family.

“Agradezco a mi esposo pero especialmente, a mis hijas por toda la ayuda que me brindaron para hacer mis tareas. Ellas fueron mi motivación cuando tomé la decisión de retomar de nuevo mis estudios. Ya que yo quiero ser un buen ejemplo para ellas y demostrarles que no importa la edad, lo dificil o imposible que parezca, todo con esfuerzo y dedicación se puede lograr. Este diploma me hace sentirme orgullosa de mí misma y será mi nueva motivación para continuar con mis estudios y tener un futuro mejor para mi y toda mi familia.”

“I thank my husband and especially thank my daughters for all the help they provided me to complete my coursework. They were my motivation when I made the decision to resume my education. I want to be an example for my daughters and show them that no matter how old they are, or how difficult or impossible it may seem, everything with effort and dedication can be achieved. This diploma makes me feel proud of myself and it will be my new motivation to continue with my studies and have a better future for me and my whole family.”