Student Testimonials

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Big Bend Community College Early Childhood Education

Susi Key 2015 Outstanding Student in Early Childhood Education

Susi Key

Susi Key

My name is Susi Key, I have been married 29 years have three adult children two of them married, one granddaughter and a new grandchild coming at the end of this year. I live in Soap Lake and have been a part of this community since 1980. In 1992 I became a licensed Family Home Child Care Provider and have served families in the Ephrata and Soap Lake area for over 23 years.

I love children! Washington State Policies for child care are rapidly changing and turning towards educated providers. I wanted to preserve my small program and be as educated as possible to keep “Family Child Care” a positive choice for my community. I called three colleges in our area and requested information on Early Childhood Education degree opportunities. Jenny Nighswonger of Big Bend Community College contacted me in less than 15 minutes! She won me over in that first conversation! Prior to starting college Jenny helped me to know what to prepare for in placement testing, encouraged me to apply for financial aid and other financial resources available through the college. Four months later I began my journey!

The Early Childhood Education program is very well put together. The instructors are incredible, you can see that they love children and enjoy teaching Early Education. They are very encouraging, clear in the class content, and make the activities, assignments, and even presentations relaxing and fun.  We the students became a team; we encouraged and helped each other to succeed as we completed class after class. As a student I valued the knowledge and experience that my fellow classmates shared and I learned so much from them! We were inspired by each other!

Immediately starting my classes I implemented new “ideas” into my program. To be “intentional” through positive interactions with a child is the most valued technique that I learned. With my degree I am improving my program, professionalism, and my reputation as a provider is bringing in more children than I am allowed. My program is being recognized as quality. I joined the Early Achievers Program to earn a “quality of excellence” rating by Washington State and will now use my education, resources from Big Bend, and inspiration from my instructors and classmates to achieve this goal. I am excited!

I encourage anyone who enjoys working with young children to take the “plunge” join the Big Bend Community College in Early Childhood Education. See the vision…through Early Child Education “we” are investing in the future of our children, and “we” can make a difference.

Susi Key
2015 Outstanding Student Award Winner for ECE

Mariana Y. Zamora

Mariana Y. Zamora

Mariana Y. Zamora

I am thirty-six years old and have been in a long relationship for twenty years with Fabian Barrientoz. We have six children together. Our girls are ages 17, 14, and 11. Our boys are 8, 6, and 4. Fabian completed the Early Childhood Education Program ECE first and right before his last quarter he talked me into enrolling in the program as well. My decision to enroll in the program came at a time when Lisa Crum, Preschool Manager at Family Services of Grant County, was evaluating my job performance and asked me if I was interested in obtaining my degree or if going back to college was in the future. Her advice definitely had a huge impact on my decision, which was to go forth with my enrollment into the ECE program. The first quarter was pretty smooth as I was enrolled into only two classes and one of which was with Fabian. The second quarter rolled around and the panic and anxiety came on full force. I stopped looking at the big picture and took one step at a time. With all the children’s sports and traveling every weekend especially during wrestling season was the biggest challenge. We would have long tournaments and I would make sure we were done on time to hook-up my lap top to Wifi either at our motel or sometimes having to pull over to the closest motel in order to complete assignments or posts/replies on time.  It was very hard juggling family life and college at the same time, but with making sacrifices it brought me closer to my goal of graduating and showing my family to complete what is set forth. I have worked very close with my instructors and let them know about my challenges and was gifted to have a bunch of understanding/helpful all around great instructors. Jenny Nighswonger always gave me that inspirational push to keep my head above water through all my family challenges and because of this I graduated from the ECE Program with highest honors. I graduated in the same month as my oldest daughter Alyssa Jade graduated high school and my fourteen year old daughter Devanee Rose graduated Jr. High, and my elderly-ill mother got to attend all which will be held very dear to my heart. I would like to thank all my instructors because when I started my career in subbing for Head Start I thought I knew what I needed to know, but the ECE program widen my knowledge and opened my eyes to the larger picture of working in the early childhood field. I learned about things that I didn’t even know existed which will help me to be aware of and to better care for the young children I will be working with in the future. I highly recommend this great and informative program!

Mariana Y. Zamora
2014 ECE Graduate

Isabel Pruneda

Isabel Pruneda

Isabel Pruneda

I am 26 years old and married with one daughter who will be turning 4 in September. I had always wanted to be an Elementary teacher since I was little but as I grew older, I became afraid because I did not like to talk in front of a classroom or anyone for that matter. So after I graduated in 2006 from High School, I went to Columbia Basin College in Pasco and I decided to get my AA in Business Administration. I graduated in 2008 from Columbia Basin College. Then, I got married and moved from Tri-cities to Warden and started working at Inspire Development Centers. I loved working in the office environment but with children. This got me to thinking that what I really want to do with my career is be in an office setting but in a place where there is children, such as a school or child care setting. This is why I decided to go to school and pursue my education in Early Childhood Education. I started off by wanting to get my Bachelor’s in ECE but this was too expensive for me at the time. So, I decided to get an Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education degree. I heard the presentations that Jenny would give at orientations at the centers which got me to become interested. I started by taking classes to get my CDA and ended up continuing to finish with a degree. With the help of Jenny and the support that I had from family, the help that I had from family members to take care of my daughter, I was able to attend my classes. I am very excited to be receiving another degree. Maybe, later in the future, I can go back to school to get a Bachelor’s degree.

Isabel Pruneda
2014 ECE Graduate

Lorena Y. M. Castillo

Lorena Y. M. Castillo

Lorena Y. M. Castillo

My name is Lorena Y. M. Castillo; I am married and have three children. I also have almost sixteen years working for Inspire Developmental Center an educational program. I already have my CDA in Infants/Toddlers and Preschool, I have worked with children of all ages. Currently I have four years working with preschoolers; therefore, I was required to complete my AA in ECE. When I started my journey as full time student in 2012, the first person who guided me in what classes I should take supported me and pushed me to continue with my studies was Jenny Nighswonger. Therefore, I am very thankful to Jenny and for all the rest of the Big Bend College services that she introduced me to.

Furthermore, I am thankful with all the services that help me and supported me during these years, and they are: English Lab, Tutoring, Opportunity Grant, Financial Aid and Scholarships. Moreover, I also have had fabulous and smart instructors who have enriched my knowledge, guide me and taught me a lot, thanks so much.

Finally, but absolutely not least, I am absolutely thankful to God who gave me the strength, faith and the courage to believe that I could do it. Thanks to him because I have people who held me and help me during nights, weekends and at any time. Those people are my husband, my three children, my parents, brothers and sister thanks so much to all of them. Now, that I have completed my AA in ECE, I want to use all my knowledge and provide even more quality services to all the children that I work for, but also I will be able to help my own children in their educational homework. Thanks to all for helping me to achieve my goal

Lorena Y. M. Castillo
2014 ECE Graduate

 

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