Florence van Kleef, Fremont, CA (1975-1978)

I earned a Certificate in Nutrition after attending Ohlone College from 1975 to 1978. My first job while attending Ohlone was the Switchboard Operator, then a Media Technician in the Media Center. After graduation, I was married for almost 30 years and co-ran our successful painting business with my then husband.   During that time I also began my current career with Fremont Unified School District as a Para Educator in Special Education. I have been joyfully doing this job for the last 25 years.   For 10 years I also worked evenings as an ESL Para at Fremont Adult School. For one year I worked a third job helping my brother launch his popular bar the Café van Kleef in Oakland. I have been fortunate to love each and every job that I’ve ever had!

I have many great memories of attending Ohlone College. I began Ohlone when it was brand new. There were lots and lots of steps, the waterfalls, pond out back by the cafeteria, the huge new lecture halls, music practice rooms, labs, a theater, art gallery, library, our very own newspaper, radio and TV station, along with that new smell!!! Not to mention the best view of the Bay. Wow, this was a great place to be when you were just 17, almost 18 years old. A new school and new beginning.   The population was one of the most diverse at the time because we not only had young students like me, but a group of Vietnam Veterans, deaf students, returning retired students and displaced workers. I even learned the entire alphabet in sign language from a Cerebral Palsy student with whom I rode the bus every day on the way to school. We were such great bus buddies!