After working at Taco Bell for four years, Isabel Amezcua started to feel like she needed something more.
“I was becoming more and more responsible for the happenings at my location, and I felt like, ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?’ So at that exact time I was seriously thinking about what I really wanted to do,” she said.
As fate may have it, our Site Administrator Michael Roessler happens to have a healthy relationship with this exact fast food chain.
“He would come every day through the drive-thru and order a ground beef burrito and a large Kickstart with easy ice. I would recognize his voice like right when he started ordering,” Isabel remembers.
Then one day, Michael brought a guest with him in the Taco Bell drive-thru – our HR Generalist Veronica King.
“I noticed there were two of them in the car and he just kind of asked me, ‘Hey, how would you like to start working with us?’” she continued.
Isabel says she remembers not really knowing what to think, because she didn’t know Michael’s field of work or anything, but she also felt like it might be destiny calling.
Michael remembers this day vividly and often jokes that he pulled her right out of that drive-thru window and into our school.
“I just loved her energy. She was always so happy and positive, and had really great customer service. I could just tell she would fit right in with our school,” Michael said.
One of the most wonderful things about Isabel is her free spirit and air of optimism. Living in the area and having gone to Grant High School herself, Isabel always struggled with outsiders perceptions of her own neighborhood.
“It’s so weird to me to hear certain people talk. It makes me realize how much more open and non-judgmental I am than some other people,” she said.
Although Isabel had planned on veterinary school, she says working at Highlands Community Charter School has had her re-thinking her decisions.
What Isabel does know is that she wants to pursue a career in helping others. This is a field that Isabel is no stranger to. She has been helping her parents pay the bills and manage transportation in her family since she was 17.
At the age of 17, her father, the sole provider in the household, was hospitalized and couldn’t return back to work. Being the only child left in the house, Isabel took it upon herself to leave her standard high school and enroll in independent study courses so that she could get a full-time job and help with the bills.
From that day forward, she completed her high school diploma, started classes at American River College, and worked the whole time through – paying off bills and driving her parents wherever they needed to go.
“I feel like it was a good thing because it made me super responsible and made me get my stuff together, but at the same time I feel like I missed a lot,” Isabel said, “like all of the high school field trips and looking at colleges, and even just having an actual group of friends.”
Fortunately for us, Isabel did take that job at Taco Bell four years ago, because now she is an integral part of our front office operations.
“It’s funny because my sister is always like, ‘You need to stop talking about your job.’” Isabel laughed. “And I’m just like, ‘That’s how you know that you enjoy it because you want to share it with other people.’”
Seeing adults come in and out of the office all day and sign up to complete something they left behind so long ago inspires Isabel.
“Seeing all of these people come in and be brave enough to do this is really incredible. My parents are both from Mexico and neither of them have their high school diploma, and on Fridays when I’m wearing my ‘It’s Never Too Late’ t-shirt I always point to it and show my mom and say, ‘Mom! It’s Never Too Late!’ I hope one day she finds the strength like all the students at our school did,” Isabel said.