Back to School, Back to Her Future


By Leonel De Leon, AmeriCorps Computer Literacy Instructor

Simona Campbell 1cropWhen she was 15 and in 9th grade, Simona Campbell faced some unfortunate circumstances and dropped out of school. Now, at the age of 47 and a mother of three, Simona is back in school.

As she studies to earn her high school diploma at Ballou STAY High School in Southeast DC, she has also been busy at Byte Back gaining digital skills.

The computer courses came at the right time for her. She found out about the free courses from a text message sent through Byte Back partner Connect.DC, and she was eager to learn.

“It’s the new era of the future and wave of technology,” Simona says, excited about computers and what technology can contribute not just to society in general, but to her in particular.

Simona has now completed her second Byte Back class. She passed the first digital literacy course, PC for Beginners, in September and then enrolled in intermediate Microsoft Office training in the Office Track course at Skyland Workforce Center. She was happy that she could find classes tailored for people just starting out on the computer.

“The teachers are very helpful. They go step-by-step to make sure you understand what you’re doing before moving forward,” Simona says. She is thankful to her two instructors – Delicia Braxton, a community volunteer, and Leonel de Leon, an AmeriCorps computer literacy instructor – for helping her through these courses.

Determined to continue her education, Simona hopes to continue on track at Byte Back, taking the advanced Microsoft Office Specialist in Excel course next.

“I encourage anyone who has little or no knowledge of using a computer or just wants to brush up on their computer skills to enroll in a Byte Back class and get started on your future,” Simona says.

After earning her certification in Excel, she plans to use her new skills to get a good-paying job that she enjoys.


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