Sunday, February 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Teen mom back in school 2 decades later

Women Making a Difference

Mischelle Loeza won the Soroptimist Women's Opportunity Award, which is given to a woman who is head of a household. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page WMD4 | March 16, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — A few months into her freshman year, Mischelle Loeza decided she was done with school – and quit.

At 15, she gave birth to her first child. A second child followed when she was 17. Her time was spent working and raising two children as a single mother.

“My instinct kicked in,” she said. “I didn’t have a choice but to work.”

The Suisun City resident is the recipient of this year’s Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Award, presented to a woman who is the primary financial support for her family and is enrolled in a vocational training or undergraduate degree program.

With limited education, Loeza often started at the bottom and worked her way up. At one restaurant, she began as a dishwasher and moved up to sous chef. When she left after 2½ years, she said she could do any job in the restaurant.

An office job came calling, and with it, a lot of money. Loeza spent almost nine years there and was able to purchase her own home and a car. Then her hours were cut and layoff rumors were persistent. She had less time in than the other woman in the two-person office. She was laid off.

Loeza decided it was time to resume her education. She started taking online classes. In January 2013, she arrived on the Solano Community College campus in Fairfield.

“It was a huge gap to go from eighth grade to college,” she said. “I was nervous but excited.”

Her lifestyle changed dramatically. She sold her house and car and went from making nearly $30 an hour to $8 an hour. She says she wouldn’t change anything, even the jobs she held as a teen.

“I learned something from every job,” she said. “I am so blessed. I can’t complain.”

Loeza is carrying 17½ units, works as a tutor on campus and in the office of Jowel Laguerre, Solano Community College’s superintendent-president.

Her emphasis is on social psychology. She has her sights set on San Diego State or the University of California, Berkeley.

“It’s a toss-up,” she said of the choice. “I aim high.”

High enough that Loeza won’t make excuses. Work and school are important, even when she’s not feeling well.

“I love learning,” she said. “I love the idea of doing something I enjoy every day of my life.”

Her career goal is to do research on how life choices affect people emotionally.

Loeza was born to a single mother who enrolled her in private school for the first years of her education.

“I think that was my saving grace,” she said.

She learned beyond her grade level at the private school, she said.

Her school day usually starts about 8 a.m. Depending on her work schedule, it ends at 4 or 5 p.m. School work is done on break between classes and work.

“I look at it like a job,” she said of school work. “I just have to do it.”

Financial aid helps with her school costs.

She can only guess what life would be like had she not returned to college. Loeza guessed she would be living paycheck to paycheck.

Loeza’s oldest child graduates from high school this year.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Police make 2nd arrest in deadly Thanksgiving Day shooting

By Glen Faison | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Fire Department honors top firefighters

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Everything you need to know about Super Bowl

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
4th annual Health and Wellness Fair a big success

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
$340,688 brick replacement for Texas Street complete

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
 
Banish dry skin this winter

By Sarah Porkka | From Page: C4

Chocolate: A long journey to deliciousness

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

 
County board to consider DA reorganization plan

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Eurozone offers lesson in debt

By Mark Sievers | From Page: B7

 
Rodriguez graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Jan. 30, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

From ocean to ocean, through the Panama Canal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Video: Islamic State group beheads Japanese journalist

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

NASA launches Earth-observing satellite

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Bay Area agency accuses former official of embezzling $1.3M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Los Angeles female-only mosque may be first in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California health care contract fight resolved

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Man arrested after body parts found in suitcase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Scientist considered father of birth control pill dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Rolled Sleeves Bandit’ tied to 7 bank robberies in custody

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Letter with suspicious powder received at Samaritan’s Purse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Snails slither into spa scene in Thailand and around world

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Not so ‘Good to Go’ when man gets $18,000 toll bridge bill

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Balloon pilots make history with trans-Pacific flight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Whitney Houston’s daughter found unresponsive in tub

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Kerry: ‘Enormous interest in new relationship with Cuba

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Drivers: Return to your dealers for a 2nd air bag recall fix

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Hatfields, McCoys make moonshine legally in southern W.Va.

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Airport authorities: Traveler beats homeless man with chair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Islamic State fighters admit defeat in Syrian town of Kobani

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
From car lots to city budgets, cheap oil means change

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Africa agrees to send 7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
5 given preliminary charges over jihadi network in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Fire devastates major Russian library, threatens rare texts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Swiss police: 4 dead after avalanche hits group of skiers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Fire at Bangladesh plastics factory kills at least 13

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Vatican investigates 2 cases of child porn possession

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
British actress Geraldine McEwan dies at age 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Greek leader tamps down rhetoric, vows to pay off debts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Civilians flee east Ukraine town as fighting intensifies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

Sound off for Feb. 1, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Good old days weren’t as good as we remember

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 1, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Feb. 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Feb. 1, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Prayer, commonly misunderstood

By The Rev. Rick L. Stonestreet | From Page: C3

 
Mormon leaders call for measures protecting gay rights

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Sundance doc pulls back curtain on Scientology

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Volunteer or visit because February is National Salute to Veteran Patients

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

Horoscopes: Feb. 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Review: ‘First Bad Man’ is Miranda July’s debut novel

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lorrie Moore nominated for short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

New book to feature unpublished Hemingway conversations

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Mustangs win the whole Encalada

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Super Bowl the final act of the NFL’s worst season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Lowest prices on last-minute Super Bowl tickets near $9,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Seau, Bettis, Brown, Haley, Shields voted into Hall of Fame

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Rodgers wins MVP, Watt unanimous top AP defensive player

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Lydia Ko takes No. 1 spot at 17, Na Yeon Choi wins opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Laird takes a 3-shot lead in Phoenix Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

On the money: Low gas prices, incentives change math for electric cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Small talk: NFL players find second careers as entrepreneurs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Recalls this week: space heaters, orbital sanders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Sumptuous seaside hotel sells for record-shattering $360M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Review: Open e-book format comes with headaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Obituaries

Anthony Neal Hunley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frank Z. Perez

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Joe Lambert Robinson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Flora Mae Brooks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Otilia (Tela) Quinn

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

WillIiam “Bill” Hunter

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Garry A. Britton

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics