Celebrating Success for Adult Learners
Moore County Literacy Council's annual celebration of student achievement had a whole new look this year when members of the weekly English-only discussion group took on the planning.
Three seasoned tutors who lead that class - Dot Greenwood, Jennie Rose and Mary Scott Arnold - provided guidance (and used the project as an opportunity to build public speaking and presentation skills), but it was the ESL students who ran the show.
"ESL" stands for "English as a Second Language," one of several academic options offered for adult learners seeking to improve their life skills and employment options with help from the Literacy Council.
More than 120 students, family and friends attended the MCLC Student Achievement Celebration held at the Emmanuel Parish fellowship hall. Students dressed in traditional clothing from their countries of origin and greeted guests as they arrived in the lobby. Everyone received a hand-made name tag. The students had designed and distributed the invitations. They >solicited door prizes from local businesses - one for a tutor, one for a student - and set up a drawing. The lobby and fellowship hall were decorated with colorful displays about MCLC activities, and each of the 14 dining tables held a whimsical arrangement of fabric flowers surrounding a giant smiling bee.
This was a family affair. The evening began with a potluck buffet of international dishes and traditional American fare. During dinner, students performed traditional Mexican dances in beautiful dresses sewn by the brother of one of the students. Her son danced too, wearing a handsome sombrero and boots as he stomped the rhythm of the festival music.
The highlight of the evening was presentation of achievement certificates and awards. Tutor Nita Brunner and ESL student Maribel announced the names of individual recipients, who then came to the stage to be photographed with their tutors and congratulated by MCLC directors Susan Sherard and Pam Giambelluca and Board Chair Pat Motz-Frazier. Family and friends applauded and cheered. Sixty-nine awards were given for various levels of improvement. Eight students received certificates for Excellence in Writing. Four graduated from the ESL program and have commenced study for the GED. Four others were recognized for Exceptional Commitment in logging more than 100 hours of instruction over the past 12 months. The evening also included special recognition for volunteers with extraordinary levels of service, most notably Sheila Wakefield, who has been an MCLC tutor for 21 consecutive years.
"I suppose each year feels like the best ever, but this one really was special," says Pam Giambelluca, MCLC program director. "The key was accepting our students' offer to be in charge. They did a great job."
If you would like more information about services offered by Moore County Literacy Council, call (910) 692-5954 or check the website: www.mcliteracy.com. MCLC is always looking for new volunteers and new students who need their help.
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