Golden Oak celebrates 70 years of adult education

Certified medical assistant instructor Marie Longworth puts a bow tie on a skeleton during the 70th birthday celebration of Golden Oak Adult School on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Community members from across the Santa Clarita Valley gathered at Golden Oak Adult School Tuesday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the school.

For seven decades the adult school has provided residents with access to academic, career, technical and postsecondary education through its various programs and offerings.

“It was founded in 1948 as part of Hart High School because there was a need in the community for English Language Learners and adults who needed to complete their high school education, and it continues to grow,” Golden Oak Principal Jodie Hoffman said.

The William S. Hart Union High School District school now works in partnership with College of the Canyons through the GatewaySCV consortium, which provides comprehensive adult education opportunities to residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Through this consortium, Golden Oak Adult School helps its students learn basic skills, gain English proficiency, earn a high school diploma and move on to postsecondary education.

Principal Jodie Hoffman shows pictures of past students who are successful in their fields during the 70th birthday celebration of Golden Oak Adult School on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

During the school’s “70th Birthday Celebration,” visitors had a chance to explore these adult education opportunities, visit classrooms, hear student success stories and explore volunteer opportunities.

It also allowed visitors to explore Golden Oak’s Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings, which include programs to become certified phlebotomy assistants, certified pharmacy technicians and certified medical assistants.

“What’s really cool about this program is that these students actually take their national certification exam the day before graduation so they graduate as certified medical assistants, which is really special because they don’t do that anywhere else,” Golden Oak CTE Medical Assistant teacher Marie Longworth said. “We have a 100 percent pass rate on the national certification exams, which is really impressive. The average national rate is around 36 percent.”

The rigor and success of the program is what inspired current Golden Oak students to enroll in the certified medical assistant program this year.

“I have a background in medical, but I have seen the importance of certified medical assistants being more and more prevalent in the industry so I decided to go ahead and become certified,” student Victoria Howard said. “It’s been difficult to get hired being non-certified, they really want that certification now in the industry… So I’m getting a jump on it and getting educated in the best way possible.”

Certified medical assistant student Victoria Howard tests the blood pressure of high school diploma instructor Scott Davidson at Golden Oak Adult School on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Other students, like Kamryn Rodriquez and Jacqueline Marroquin, said the offering is preparing them for their future as Registered Nurses and others, like Kurt Gillenberg, said it helps them understand what good medicine and bad medicine looks like.

During the celebration, visitors also had a chance to explore Golden Oak’s newest career pathway: hospitality. Through the program students complete a 30-hour internship at a local establishment and learn how to create menus, make table settings and understand the hospitality vocabulary, according to Golden Oak hospitality teacher Scott Nevius.

“I’m here a year and a half and I started here studying hospitality,” Golden Oak student Alessandra Allen said. “I learned a lot and I have a chance to have a job. I love to work with people and it’s (good) for my English too.”

Community members also had a chance to participate in a silent auction to fund scholarships through the California Council of Adult Education and participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the school.

“This scavenger hunt entails some history about adult education and about Golden Oak Adult School and a little bit about who we are today,” said Scott Davidson, a Golden Oak high school diploma teacher who created the scavenger hunt. “It’s fun to walk people through where we’ve been and where we are now.”

Overall, the 70th anniversary celebration honored the history of Golden Oak Adult School and its ability to “change student’s lives.”

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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