Welcome to the Next Step Alumni Spotlight! Every month throughout the school year we highlight a Next Step Alumni to check in and see how they are doing and what they’ve been up to since graduating from Next Step PCS.
For this month, we caught up with Wendy Vasquez.
Q. Where were you born? How did you hear about The Next Step PCS?
A. I was born in El Salvador. A friend told me about the ESL program offered at the Next Step.
Q. What attracted you to The Next Step PCS and how was your experience?
A. I was so desperately looking for a good school to learn English so when I heard the amazing feedback about The Next Step, I did not doubt it, and I enrolled .
My experience at Next Step is amazingly indescribable, as I always said Next Step for me was the bridge to the college life. I do not have enough words to describe how grateful I am with The Next Step and the staff that helped me to succeed in life, without them I would not be where I am now.
Q. In what language did you pass the GED?
A. I did not take the GED. I studied 3 years of Architecture in El Salvador so I transferred my credits from the National University of El Salvador.
Q. Is English your primary language? If no, what is your primary language?
A. No, my primary language is Spanish.
Q. Did you take ESL courses? If so, where and for how long did you take ESL courses?
A. Yes, I did take ESL courses at The Next Step for 2 years
Q. Did you ever feel frustrated during your time at The Next Step PCS?
A. Yes, a lot of times I felt frustrated. Being a full time worker and part time student is not easy, sometimes I was very tired after work that I did not want to go to school, but my desires to succeed were stronger than my frustrations.
Q. Who or what helped you pass the GED?
A. As I mentioned before I did not take the GED, but my big anchor to succeed in ESL program, and reach my goal to enroll in college was Vita Soto. She provided me stability and security, even in rough days. I will be always in debt with you Vita Soto, you are the best!
Q. Did you receive any scholarships?
A. Yes, I received the Ben Friedberg Scholarship from the Next Step. I was also awarded with the New Futures Scholarship, which I applied through The Next Step.
Q. What advice would you give to current students at The Next Step PCS?
A. To pursue your dreams and goals never give up it won't be easy, but definitely worth it. Also never allow anything or anyone to stop you, because people come and go, but your studies will always be with you, no matter what happens or where you are, your knowledge will always be there.
Q. What are you doing today?
A. I am currently studying my associates degree program in Graphic Design at the University of the District of Columbia – Community College. I will graduate from my associates this coming fall and I will transfer to the bachelor’s degree. I also work as photographer which is another thing that I love to do.
Q. What is the best part of your job or schooling?
A. The best part of my schooling is that I actually love doing art and being able to learn the different art programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, etc. is amazing. I am fascinated with all the incredible things that I can create. To me, being in the university is of course tired but fun, I enjoy every class and project because I love what I am doing.
Q. What are your future professional goals?
A. I plan on finish my bachelor degree as graphic designer but I also want to learn how to do web design and keep learning strategies on photography. My long term goal is to have my own photography/ graphic design company.
Q. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working or in school?
A. My favorite thing to do is watch movies, play wii hahaha , or spend time with my friends and family.
Q. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
A. I am proud to have learned English and to have been able to not give up in the university despite so many obstacles.
Q. Any shoutouts and if so who?
A. I would like to thank TNS staff because they are always there to help, specially Vita Soto I would not be where I am without you and your commitment with the students, so thank you very much!!
Q. What is your favorite quote or life motto?
A. Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Lao Tzu