Richard St. Clare helping students achieve

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Richard St. Clare, RMA, CAHI, BSHHS, MBA
In Richard’s family heritage, the first born son becomes a priest. As the first born his direction was already planned, but due to extenuating family circumstances those plans were put on hold. Because he always wanted to help others, he chose the next closest field to the ministry, which in his mind was the health care field.
“Very few people are able to find a career that will satisfy them throughout their life, but I have been blessed to have 38 years and counting in a field that I love.”
Richard is a first generation college graduate. He attended American College of Professional Education and earned a certificate in Medical Assisting, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Services from Radford University and continued there for his Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis on Health Care. Throughout his career he has kept pace with new trends in technology, curriculum changes and updates in the field through continuing education classes. He has been instrumental in keeping coursework current accreditation requirements and advances in the medical field.
Richard is as thorough as he is caring. He has held many jobs within the industry, a bonus to his student who receive first class skills training based in part to his knowledge and expertise. He has worked as a clinical associate, home care coordinator, program director and clinic manager, in addition to being a Registered Medical Assistant.
He has a heart for our students and compassion beyond belief, in part because he has seen life struggles up close and personal. He understands how lost opportunities, life interruptions and family situations can impact life and interfere with one’s goals.
“I make sure my students know, this is a place you can come and learn. There are no wrong answers that can’t be corrected. I am a nurturer, not just a teacher. Students learn in an environment where they are safe from ridicule. I want them to realize their self-worth, explore their capabilities and discover their talents.

Jean Carver helping students

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Jean Carver’s major focus is on getting the job done. She enjoys working behind the scenes, putting the pieces together and achieving a positive outcome for those involved. She is the go-to person for every new hire, work-study, substitute and administrative employee. She is invaluable to Seattle Vocational Institute, not just because she is in charge of payroll and making certain everyone’s paperwork for hiring, TLR forms and substitute pay is in place. Without her interaction and expertise no one would be paid on time.
Jean has been chosen to receive the staff recognition award not just because of the job she does, but because of the manner in which she does her job. She is level-headed, professional and kind. Her thoroughness in walking new employees and work study students through the employment and payroll process is amazing. She collects and dispenses information in a timely and organized way. There is never an issue of missing paperwork, lost files or incorrect information. This is no small feat. Every person who leaves her desk, leaves on a positive note. While others may seek the limelight, Jean is content to let her work speak for itself.
“I love the varied components of this job,” Jean said. “I am detail-oriented, but I love meeting people and talking to people about their goals and aspirations. When I give an employment packet to a new employee and walk them through each step, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. It is like putting together a puzzle, you have to make certain all the pieces are present and then make sure that everything fits. ”
In addition to payroll, she is the first person we ask to organize SVI events and activities. She gives committee members their assignments and makes sure they follow through on each task they are given.
Outside of Seattle Vocational Institute, Jean is fully vested in the lives of her five children and two grandchildren. Her family is a reflection of her and she is rightfully very proud of them. Jean is a reserved individual, but if you ask a question about her family, you will learn a lot about her. Each child has achieved success in their chosen field, from the freelance writer who is also a marketing fundraiser- to the Waste Management supervisor who travels throughout the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho to ensure employees are trained properly – to the lawyers, one a criminal defense attorney, the other a corporate attorney who handles compliance law and investigates equal employment opportunity complaints – to her youngest, a Certified Nursing Assistant who will pursue a career in Nursing specializing in elder care and geriatrics, she has been the major influence on each one. She literally beams at the mention of her grandchildren and it is clear they also have bright futures awaiting them.
Jean plans to travel upon retirement, but mainly to visit her children and help manage, organize and assist them in their many endeavors. She also enjoys reading, crosswords, bowling and of course figuring things out. As invaluable to her family as she has proven to be at SVI, there is no one more deserving of this award. We honor her with this Outstanding Staff Recognition Award as a small expression of how much she is valued and appreciated by the staff, faculty and students at SVI.

Adriana Fajardo-Garcia Success Story

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Adriana Fajardo-Garcia is one determined woman. When she encounters an obstacle she will use every ounce of her being to remove it. If you try to stop her from accomplishing her goals, you will need more than a roadblock to keep her from reaching her destiny. Adriana knows how to go over, under around and through in order to climb the steps to success.

Adriana came to the United States from Mexico. She did not know anyone except her husband. She was 17 years old and she did not know the language. She wanted to take English as a Second Language classes, but was told that she did not need to. Realizing she would forever be dependent on others to interpret for her, she began secretly taking ESL classes at Walla Walla Community College twice a week for two hours a day. Her teachers were amazed at her ability to catch on so quickly. She practiced the language as often as possible, usually in private because she didn’t want to offend those who told her not to learn.

Her teachers encouraged her to study for the GED. They pushed her to take the GED exam even though she felt she was not nearly conversant enough to understand and pass the series of tests. But something in her desire for education and her hope that she would make a better life for her children, pushed her forward. She took the first test and passed. She took the next one and passed. She passed all five required tests and soon had a GED. Unfortunately she could not tell anyone or invite them to her graduation, because she had no family in the States and no one to share this accomplishment with. The instructors and classmates however, were ecstatic and openly demonstrated how proud and happy they were for her.

She spent a lot of time listening to Spanish radio stations and learned of a contest for a singer. She auditioned and won! The prize was an invitation to sing in Pasco, Washington. She loved singing and the audience loved her. She was booked to sing at several upcoming events and she loved what she was doing. Sadly she was forced to give up this career because she needed to maintain peace at home and ensure the well-being of her children.
Through the midst of coping, she had a family to raise. She loved singing, experimenting with make-up and hairstyling. She was in a difficult relationship. After 12 years of hoping for change, she sought refuge at the YWCA and they helped her study to become an Executive Secretary. But the pull of beauty, fashion and make-up was always there. Her part-time job at a pawn shop helped, but she wanted to do more, provide more and live a more fulfilling life; especially for the sake of her children.

DSHS encouraged her to go back to school. This time she chose the career she always wanted, Cosmetology and she began singing in Church.

“I was happy,” she said. “So happy! I passed the admissions test. I worked hard. My teachers encouraged me. My children were proud of me. I loved doing my homework. I love everything about the field of cosmetology. I am still happy!”

Adriana proved to be a stellar student. She designed a paper skirt for a class photo shoot that was amazing, she participated in events and she absorbed all of the lessons offered to her, both through class and in life. People started asking for help with their weddings and Quinceañeras. She plans to do this full-time once she builds up her clientele. Her future will always entail what she loves, beauty, fashion, singing and helping others, especially her four children who are the catalyst to her growth and success.