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Byline: Sharon Noguchi
Jul. 16--Two years ago at age 30, Joan Danenberg dreaded starting college.
Danenberg hadn't liked school much before: She'd had straight F's in seventh grade and was busted for shoplifting and underage drinking -- and quit high school at age 15. By 18, she was a single mom.
But she resolved to return to school, and during her first semester at San Jose City College, Padma Manian's class on women in history changed Danenberg's outlook about education. The subject was interesting, the class challenging and Manian was "very encouraging," Danenberg said.
With a push from other teachers at City College, Danenberg soared. And last month she won the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke scholarship, awarded to the 51 most promising community college students in the …