This year, Jorge Jiminez will graduate from Northwest Classen High School. He will also graduate from Metro Tech alongside his mother, Zandra Galindo.
The oldest of three kids, Jorge discovered an interest in the medical field when his lung collapsed in 2012 at the age of 15. He spent eight days in the hospital undergoing tests and surgery and felt inspired by his experience with the medical staff.
“They treated me so good. One nurse even gave me a rosary as I was entering the operating room. I had always been healthy so the experience was very scary,” Jorge said.
Although Jorge made a complete recovery and now has 100% oxygen, he remembered the experience when Metro Tech recruiters visited his high school and discussed options for health careers. Jorge completed the HCC Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Program tuition-free as a high school student last year and passed the assessment test required to be listed on the Oklahoma Nursing Assistant Registry.
This year, Jorge is enrolled in the Advanced Unlicensed Assistant (AUA) Program at HCC. In addition to his high school coursework and studying for the AUA Certification Test through the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, he works as a CNA with Alzheimer’s patients at Grace Living Center.
“I fall in love with the residents I see and work with every day. I play piano for them sometimes, and we talk about their life. I work with three World War veterans and enjoy hearing their stories,” Jorge said.
Jorge credits his success to his HCC teachers: Ms. Wolohon, Ms. Vails, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Alexander.
“I get one-on-one instruction here so I learn a lot from my instructors. I enjoy being in class with like-minded high school students that are motivated like me.”
Jorge’s mother Zandra is a single parent who has always worked cleaning houses and cooking food to sell on job sites. Although she didn’t graduate high school, she later earned her GED and pushes her children to stay focused on their education. When Jorge started receiving brochures and paperwork from Metro Tech, Zandra decided the kids were old enough for her to return to school.
In August of 2015, she enrolled in the Information Technology Center (ITC) Administrative Assistant Program with very little computer knowledge.
“I knew how to turn a computer on and scroll through Facebook. That’s it,” Zandra said.
Six months later, Zandra has advanced skills in all programs related to Microsoft Office. Her confidence has skyrocketed and she’s much more outgoing. Although juggling school is challenging as a single mother, she believes that getting an education is a crucial component to creating a better life for her kids and setting a good example.
“My classmates have become my friends, and Ms. Samuels is helpful in all areas of my life. She’s not just a teacher, she’s someone who encourages me,” she said.
In May, Zandra and Jorge will graduate from Metro Tech together. Jorge has been accepted to OSU-OKC and plans to enroll in general education courses and eventually, nursing school. Zandra plans to one day own a business in the construction field.
Metro Tech is an Oklahoma technology school that offers free tuition to Oklahoma City Public Schools, Crooked Oak Public Schools and Millwood Public Schools students. Full-time and part-time training is offered for adult students, as well as customized Business & Industry training. For more information (405) 424-TECH.