Mario moved to the United States from Mexico in 1991, looking to support his family. At 20-years-old, he had just arrived in Washington, DC when he enrolled at the Carlos Rosario School. He took one semester of English, and got the basics of the language.
Coming here, he says, “was difficult at first, I had to adjust to the new culture, the language and everything that goes with living in another country that is not ours.”
He started working at a liquor store in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant, and made a good living there. But in 2011 he found he couldn’t work there anymore. His vision had deteriorated due to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa. He left his job and, in the face of this challenge, decided to re-start his education.
He enrolled at the Carlos Rosario School’s beginning ESL class and in three years finished up to the highest level. As he was finishing the English program, he decided to register in the GED program.
“The school opened the doors to getting the GED.” He enrolled in the class in 2012 and obtained his General Education Diploma this year. His accomplishments and dedication won him the Most Outstanding Student in Adult Education Award, by the DC Association of Chartered Schools.
His progress has not been without challenges at the School. “But I found people who gave me guidance, and the school has bought the materials I needed. I’ve found a lot of support,” he said.
His newest undertaking is the Culinary Arts Fundamentals class. He speaks passionately about cooking, and his goal is to become a professional chef. This year he completed all of the GED tests so that he can move forward with his goal of enrolling in a post-secondary culinary program.