Student Success Story: Lucienne Simeu, Pittsburg Adult Education Center

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The California Council for Adult Education has selected Pittsburg Adult Education student Lucienne Kegne Simeu for special recognition. Simeu, an English as a Second Language student has been recognized by OTAN (Outreach and Technical Assistance Network)* Students Succeed program.

The award is given annually to adult education students who has overcome difficult circumstances in order to successfully pursue adult learning experiences resulting in employment. Those recognized must have made positive contributions to their community and established and met life goals as a result of attending an adult education program. The award also recognizes those who have improved the life situation of self and/or others as a result of adult learning experiences.

 Ms. Simeu hails from the French-speaking section of Cameroon, Africa. Due to a local civil war, she could not start school until the age of 10. At age 12 Lucia quit school to care for her severely ailing parents and raise her siblings. Two years later, after her family health and financial situation improved, Lucienne chose not to return to school due to the shame she felt being two years behind her peers. She focused instead on building a successful small business making and selling crackers in the local marketplace.

At age 18, Lucia married and had a baby. She wanted to return to school but her husband would not allow her to do so. She contented herself raising her growing family and reading in her spare time.

In November of 2012 Lucia’s oldest daughter, now a doctor living in the Pittsburg area, brought Lucia and her husband to the United States. At this point Lucia spoke only French and several African tribal languages. Taking care of her grandchildren, Lucia felt a compelling need to learn English in order to communicate with her grandchildren’s teachers and be prepared to handle any emergency situations that could arise. It was at this time that she began attending English as a Second Language classes offered at the Pittsburg Adult Education Center (PAEC). She also enrolled in a Certified Nursing Assistant program offered by the school and consequently passed her Certified Nursing Assistant state examination early in 2018. Upon passing her state certification she was immediately offered a job at a local rehabilitation center. During this time she also busied herself with giving speeches on women’s suffrage and women’s rights. She currently is developing a talk about women inventors and their inventions.

Lucia continues the tradition of her women relatives in sharing their passion for education and helping others. Her grandmother received a medal from the first president of Cameroon for her work in the village hospital aiding local doctors assist in child births. Lucia smiles at the thought of how proud her grandmother and mother would be to know that she is carrying on the tradition.   

*OTAN provides electronic collaboration, information, and support for instructional technology and distance learning to literacy and adult education providers in California. It is their objective to lead California adult education in the integration of technology into the educational process, ultimately empowering learners to meet their academic, employment, civic and personal goals.