Student Success Stories - Meet Patricia Rafagnin

pathy photoPatricia first came to the U.S. from Brazil eight years ago with her husband. For the first six years in the country, she mostly stayed home with her two children. She had to rely on her husband to translate for her at her children’s medical appointments and at the grocery store.

Then one day Patricia’s son got very ill and needed to see a doctor. Patricia was paralyzed by her lack of English. “I needed to take my son to the emergency room but I couldn’t go because I had to wait for my husband,” she explained. It was then she realized, she needed to go back to school.

In the fall of 2012 Patricia enrolled in ESL Health level 4 at the Carlos Rosario School. After her second ESL class, Patricia’s teachers encouraged her to apply for the medical assistant program at Andromeda, a local organization that provides health services and training to under-served populations.
With her new English skills Patricia also got a job working as a Sales Associate at Guess. After completing more English classes in November 2013, Patricia was contacted by the manager of the Michael Kors store to come work for them. With her solid customer service skills and her tri-lingual (English, Spanish and Portuguese) abilities, she has a lot to offer in retail.

The irony was not lost on Patricia who grew up in a poor family living with her grandmother who raised six grandchildren on government subsidies. Growing up in a small rural community, Patricia had gotten into fights with girls who would make fun of her for wearing old, worn clothes. “I was the kid who didn’t have the best clothes and shoes,” said Patricia. Today Patricia’s family sees her as an example of what life can be if you fight to achieve your dreams.

Currently Patricia is studying in ESL level 8 at the Carlos Rosario School, working at the Michael Kors store and finishing the medical assistant program at Andromeda. She hopes to enroll in the Carlos Rosario School Nurse Aide Training program and is excited about being a new homeowner.