BABIES, BEER, AND BUSINESSES CELEBRATED AT LITERACY COUNCIL GRADUATION July 16, 2019 Smiling faces and tears of joy were on display last week at the Oakland Literacy Council’s annual graduation ceremony at its offices in Bloomfield Hills. Thirty-two students graduated the reading and/or listening program. With their proud families and tutors in attendance, the literacy grads gratefully accepted their certificates from the Council’s Board President, Judy Lindstrom. Board President Judy Lindstrom presents certificate to Binzhen Zhu, a graduate from China. During the ceremony, students spoke of the impact the tutors had made in their lives, both as Maram Almariny, a graduate from Syria, poses for a picture with her four children who attended the ceremony with her. teachers, mentors, and friends. A Russian student, Elena Babin, who came with her infant son, explained how her tutor, Irene Sinclair, gave her confidence during her labor and delivery. Prior to the birth they practiced conversations with nurses and doctors to assertively communicate her needs. Elena said, “I didn’t have to worry about English while giving birth.” Woo Jin Yoon, a student from South Korea, talked about how her tutor, Hannah Hilbert, became her first American friend. The friendship, according to Yoon, blossomed when they went to a brewery and beer festival. Yoon plans to start a party planning business soon. Another graduate, Hpwe Lwin, from Burma already owns two businesses and was grateful her tutor helped her improve her English skills. Each graduate expressed appreciation for the time and patience given to them by their tutors.