College celebrates learning English
The Arizona Republic
May. 14, 2003 12:00 AM
CHANDLER - Their homelands are as diverse as the students themselves:
Afghanistan, Brazil, Cambodia, Honduras, Japan, Mexico and Pakistan.
But today they'll participate in a Chandler-Gilbert Community Collegeevent that
celebrates their one common goal: improving their English skills.
More than 100 students will receive certificates at a multicultural potluck
social for completing English as a second language courses this school year.
"It helps celebrate their accomplishments because for many of them this is their
first college course in their new country," said Virginia Edwards, the ESL
About 225 students from more than 20 different countries annually enroll in the
program, launched in 1988.
It offers nearly 20 different courses designed to improve English learners'
conversational, reading and writing skills.
About half of the students want to improve their English, while the rest seek
college degrees, Edwards said.
"Nearly 82 percent of our enrollees are Hispanic. But our students come from all
over . . . Asia, Europe, Africa," she said.
"The majority are recent immigrants. But some have been living in the U.S. for
15 years and finally decided to improve their English."
Tallat Siddique, a part-time dispatcher at the college, will receive special
recognition for earning an associate degree in computer
Siddique, a Pakistani, said English was a challenge.
"Math and physics were easy. But English . . . that was hard," she said.
"But the teachers here are very accessible and encouraging, and here I am."
Geovanny Diaz, a manufacturing technician at Intel, recently completed his first
"I have an associate degree in computer technology," said the self-taught
English reader and writer.
"But I want a bachelor's in engineering and for that I need to perfect my
English. It's about improving your English to help better yourself."
Reach the reporter at (602) 444-7758.