In 1990 Jose Molina had just finished high school when he left Honduras to join his mother and brothers in Washington, D.C. Two months after his arrival, he found his first job in the U.S. He was a busboy at the State Plaza Hotel. At that time, Jose barely spoke any English and faced a language barrier problem. In 1991 he enrolled in evening English classes at the Carlos Rosario School when the institution was located on Wisconsin Avenue. “I wanted to learn and improve my English to better live in the U.S.,” he said.
Initially attracted to the school because of its diverse student body, Jose became active as a Student Government Representative. “The Carlos Rosario School was at that time the only D.C. Public School for the large diverse immigrant community,” he said. As a student, Jose took an active part in the demonstrations to avoid the school’s shutdown in 1996-1997 due to a financial crisis that took away all DC Public School Adult Education funding. Meanwhile at State Plaza Hotel, in addition to being a busboy, he tried other jobs from room services employee to food prep.
In 1998, the Carlos Rosario School reopened, and Jose went back to school. At that time, he found a full time job at Whole Foods Market where he worked for more than ten years. He also worked alternatively for P&R Enterprises, Port of Piraeus Market and Harriet’s Family Restaurant. With his busy schedule, Jose was no longer able to continue taking evening classes and dropped from the school.
Since 2014, he has been working as a Junior Engineer at a Property Management company during the day and Operations Manager at the Government Accountability Office in the evening.
Jose has not been back to Honduras ever since he came to the U.S. He is happy with his new life here. “The United States is my land. I have my family and friends here. The U.S. gives me all I need,” he admitted. In the future, Jose plans to go back to school, complete his GED and improve his English level.