Student’s persistence in English as a Second Language leads to statewide award

Good News

Khanhthong Sidara was only hoping to improve her language skills a bit by enrolling in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Amarillo College, but she quickly became engrossed in the process and set her sights higher.

Her tenacity paid off – literally.

On May 6, the Thailand native was the surprise recipient of an ESL Student Persistence Award courtesy of the Texas Association for Literacy and Adult Education (TALAE), an honor accompanied by a check for $500.

According to the TALAE website, the Persistence Award goes to students in Texas having “demonstrated exceptional determination through their effort, persistence, leadership, and community involvement.”

“At first, I just wanted to learn English to communicate with my children’s teachers or doctors, but then I thought that if I can pass ESL, then maybe I can pass the GED,” Sidara said.

“I only finished the fifth grade in my country, and people there told me that if I didn’t finish high school or college, I’ll never make it. I think now I can make it.”

Ronetta Urton, AC’s assistant ESL coordinator, surprised Sidara by gathering a large group of ESL students in the Ware Student Commons and then summoning the unsuspecting honoree for a festive presentation of the award.

“Khanhthong thought reading and writing would help her be a good mother,” Urton said. “But it turns out that’s not all she wanted. She has a four-inch-thick notebook and re-writes all her class notes every night. She color-codes each of her subjects.

“This is a student who truly takes ownership for her learning. She is the epitome of what the definition of persistence means.”

Now halfway through the requirements for a GED, Sidara hopes to complete the process by next fall.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Weather

More Forecast

Don't Miss