Meet the Class of 2020: Anahi Montano – A Perfect Example of Grit and Determination

Anahi MontanoAnahi Montano
Betty G. Gibbel Regional Learning Center
Riverside County Office of Education

As a middle school student, Anahi Montano found herself expelled, put on probation for narcotics violations, and generally found it hard to stay motivated to do anything.

“I was over everything and over everyone telling me to come to school,” Anahi said.

In the middle of her freshman year, Anahi thought no other school would want her until she heard about what others described as “her last shot” at the Betty G. Gibbel Regional Learning Center (BGRLC) operated by the Riverside County Office of Education. When Anahi started attending BGRLC, she had a dismal 25% attendance rate and a 1.63 GPA.

“The staff at the school was supportive and there for me to talk to. They helped me open myself, and everything started to improve for me,” Anahi shared.  “They didn’t get mad if I didn’t do something right. They would sit down with me and help me get it right.”

By her 10th grade year, her attendance rate had doubled, and wrap-around support services helped Anahi get back on track with her education—including help from her parents, her probation officer, and the BGRLC team. Her attendance and grades kept improving, and she was soon released from probation.

Another tool that helped bring order to Anahi’s academic world was incorporating the principles of the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Program.

“The strategies, the organizations, and the writing format in the AVID Program helped me a lot,” Anahi said.

Taking a first English course in college is a wake-up call for many students who encounter significantly higher standards and expectations from professors. Anahi’s AVID skills gave her confidence as she enrolled in her first English class at Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) and she is still improving her writing skills as she pursues a major in psychology.

“When I first came to Betty Gibbel Regional Learning Center, I hated writing,” Anahi said. “I couldn’t write anything, but now, it’s getting fun for me.

Anahi’s experiences at BGRLC prepared her for success in college in more ways than writing.

“Honestly, everything they did here helped a lot,” Anahi said. “Over the last few years, I’ve learned that I’m smart, and I thought I wasn’t. I always thought I couldn’t do this or do that. They told me that I could succeed, and I listened.”

Once Anahi changed her mindset and started to recognize her own academic potential, she was unstoppable. She now attends MSJC full-time, earns good grades, and works for Amazon.

Staff members at BGRLC describe her as “a perfect description of grit and determination.” Her message to students to never give up despite their struggles in school or life is reflective of her journey.

“I’d tell students that were like me that as you get older, you’ll need your diploma for almost everything, so stay in school because it’s very important and there are people who are here to help keep you on track,” Anahi said. “When I got my head in the game. Giving up wasn’t a choice.”