Oakland Literacy Council (OLC) recently celebrated the graduation of 45 adult learners whose new skills in ESL, reading, or math have led to better jobs, higher pay, citizenship, and confidence they can achieve their goals.
One of the graduates, Qambar Ali Sarwari, an Afghan immigrant, received the “Outstanding Student Award” for his extraordinary drive to improve his English skills since arriving in the U.S. “When I came to Michigan, I had two jobs, one full time job and one part time job because we were at the beginning of the process of settlement,” Sarwari said. Even with the demanding schedule, he made time to learn with his tutor, Frances Hammond. “She was kind and she helped me with the scheduling of those things, and she always would provide me a really good source for materials,” he said. He is now seeking a job in accounting.
Graduates accepted certificates for English, in both reading and listening, and mathematics.
Meera D’Souza spoke of Isabel Romero, an English student from Venezuela: “The first time we met [in August], she said she wanted to get a new job with a higher salary. By December 5th, she had the new job with a much higher salary.”
In a similar story, reading graduate from Mexico, Isvi Schelesky, said of her tutor Jessica Shefman: “I’m very grateful to Jessica because she helped me accomplish two of the biggest goals in my life.” Because of her progress forward and English reading, she was able to secure a lead manager position at her job along with U.S. citizenship.
Graduate Jacob Stoll spoke of his struggles before completing the mathematics program: “When I first started, I would look at a problem and kinda cringe and wonder where my memory had gone. Now I have a newfound confidence to actually be able to break things down and make it more simple and realistic.”
The graduation, hosted at Kirk in the Hills in Bloomfield Hills, saw nearly 100 participants which included graduates, tutors, OLC board members, and family members. The ceremony concluded with hearty applause and great excitement for the bright futures ahead.
Oakland Literacy Council has been serving the metro Detroit community for over 39 years providing tutoring services in English, listening, reading, mathematics, and digital literacy. Adult learners are partnered with personal tutors that work one-on-one with them online or in person. Every year, a graduation ceremony is held to commemorate those who have completed, and often excelled, in their programs of choice.