Woodland Community College student discusses how education strengthens her business success

Yadira Mora-Negrete. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Yadira Mora-Negrete completed two certificates in the spring of 2019 in both culinary arts and baking at the Lake County Campus of Woodland Community College.

Mora-Negrete received Student of the Semester twice from the Culinary Arts Department with a 4.0 G.P.A. and perfect attendance.

She said the program is, “Excellent, Excellent! It opens many doors to success.”

Her favorite class was CUL 72, Introduction to Purchasing, because “it taught me how to manage my whole business.”

Mora-Negrete and her husband, Humberto, opened Tortillerilla La Unica, at 16250 Main Street, Lower Lake on Dec. 18, 2018. They serve organic, fresh tortillas, chips and other products. They will open a Mexican Restaurant next to La Unica at the end of this year.

In addition to going to school and running a small business, Mora-Negrete manages her household. “I work seven days a week,” she remarked, “It’s a lot of work, but I like to stay active.”

The journey to success had simple, hard beginnings.

Mora-Negrete was three months pregnant with her daughter, Itzel, when she and her husband moved from Michoacán, Mexico, to Lake County in 1999.

She picked walnuts in the orchards. Obtaining residency in the U.S. took nearly 10 years, three of which she was forced to go back to Mexico.

“The process was so long,” she said. “The hardest part was being so far away from my family.”

Itzel and Humberto Jr. would spend half the year in Lake County with dad and the other half in Mexico with Mom.

Soon after the family reunited, Mora-Negrete began English as a Second Language classes at the Lake County Campus. “It is not easy to learn English. I have many troubles,” she said, “but I try learning every day.”

Upon the consistent suggestion of her instructors, Lily Woll and Peggy Alexander, Mora-Negrete received her high school equivalency by taking the HiSet exams.

“Peggy told me, ‘You are ready to go to college,” but I told her ‘No, no, I am not ready.’ But she pushed me to keep going,” Mora-Negrete said.

Support from faculty toward students is one of the reasons why Lake County Campus is a great place to learn.

Itzel also cheered, “You are very smart. You can do it, mommy!” Itzel will be graduating from Sonoma State University with a business management and Spanish degree ahead of schedule because she completed courses at Woodland Community College while attending Lower Lake High School.

“So I did it and here I am,” Mora-Negrete said. “I would not be here without Peggy and my family encouraging me to keep going.”

“I am impressed by Yadira’s food preparation in the Aromas Restaurant kitchen, but her written assignments impress me most,” said Mora-Negrete’s instructor in the Culinary Arts Department, Chef Robert Cabreros.

“My business would not be a success without the knowledge and access to resources I received at Woodland Community College,” said Mora-Negrete.

Moving forward, Mora-Negrete begins her journey to completing an Associate of Arts Degree in Culinary Arts on Monday, Aug. 19.

She looks forward to sharing her favorite dish, Enchiladas Michoacanas, at her family’s upcoming Mexican restaurant in Lower Lake.

Lake County Campus, located at 15880 Dam Road Extension in Clearlake, has been providing quality education to the residents of the south Lake County area for over 47 years.

For more information about Lake County Campus, please visit the website at http://lcc.yccd.edu .