Mary Gonzales has been Visalia Adult School's Instructional Aide for 32 years, and she is irreplaceable. She is one of the first people to greet incoming ESL and Spanish GED students at VAS. Mary leads orientation and registration processes and reassures students as they tackle their CASAS exams. She can regularly be seen interacting with students on campus, most of whom know her as kind-hearted, attentive, and helpful. The VAS staff knows that Mary is often difficult to find on campus because she is always on the move--either interacting with students, walking materials from one teacher to another, or setting up the table to do CCAE fundraising.
This will be Mary's 8th year as Visalia Adult School's CCAE Chapter President. She has been, and continues to be, the driving force for all of the CCAE fundraising at Visalia Adult School. Mary plans fundraisers, organizes the workforce to carry out each event, and goes into each classroom to promote the fundraisers and garner student participation.
At the section level, Mary assisted during each of the Central Section CCAE conferences. She was also a part of the Central Section Team that helped organize and present the 2006 and 2012 CCAE State Conferences, in Fresno. She volunteered her time to assist in a variety of ways and has promised to do so again when the Central Section hosts the 2018 CCAE State Conference, even though she will have retired the December prior to the event.
Visalia Adult School was pleased and honored to present Mary Gonzales with the Central Section's Charles O. Peterson Meritorious Service Award in 2016/17. Mary was also a recipient of the award at the state level. As she has said so often, "I'm here for our students." This is easy to see through all of her hard work. Mary engages with our students in order to make them feel welcome and encourage them on their individual paths. She assists her teachers so they can best meet the needs of their students. She continuously organizes fundraising events to raise money for student scholarships.
For all of her outstanding work and tireless efforts, The Central Section and Visalia Adult School staff and students would like to say, "Thank you, Mary Gonzales!"