English Class Milestone Celebration

Participants in IMPACT’s English acquisition classes in Long Branch recently experienced a milestone—the first in-person gathering of students and teachers since the pandemic shutdown in 2020! On June 19, we hosted an in-person celebration for students who completed the 10-week, spring session of classes. Many thanks to our friends at Clifton Park Baptist Church for letting us use their social hall for the occasion.

IMPACT has been offering community-based English classes for about 10 years. We know that even with our county’s efforts around language justice, English acquisition is important to boosting access to economic opportunities, gaining information about what’s happening in the broader community, and for building multicultural networks of support and exchange.

We also know it’s important to make classes as accessible as possible. The only cost to students for IMPACT’s classes is the purchase price of their textbook, but inability to pay is never a barrier. We provide textbooks free of charge when needed. During the pandemic, we pivoted from in-person classes in the neighborhood to the Zoom classroom.  This shift required us to help students without access to computers secure donated laptops.

The June 19 celebration was the first time most students had met their teachers in person. Senior Network Builder Sara Mussie (one of the English class coordinators along with Oneyda Hernandez, Rubidia Machado, and Isabel Salinas) shared that “This was a very special occasion for students. They dressed up and brought their families to meet their teachers and classmates.” The evening included a potluck dinner—with students bringing empanadas, pupusas, couscous, Ethiopian tibs and coffee, and other goodies—along with a certificate ceremony.

While twenty students attended the in-person celebration, it’s worth noting that a total of 58 students across basic, intermediate, and advanced levels, satisfactorily completed their coursework. We hope every student felt about their classes the way Helen M. did. When asked what she liked most about the instruction she received, she answered (in English), “Everything!”

😍 🎉 IMPACT’s English classes wouldn’t be possible without the support of an amazing group of volunteer teachers:  Marina Salinas Canas, Jose Diaz, Barbara Francisco, Gina Gaspin, Pam Gogol, Rosangle Hall, Helen Heinrich, Julie Huff, Anna Lee, Robyn Robins, Scott Schneider, Anna Stephenson, Yared Tebabu, and Ann Wagner. Thank you! 🙏🏽



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