Oxford First is wrapping up its first semester offering English as a second language (ESL) class. We began with 13 students from representing three Latin American countries.
“This has been a dream come true,” said Jenny Grizzard, Hispanic Ministries Coordinator at Oxford First. “I have wanted to do this for several years.”
Grizzard is herself an immigrant from Peru, who worked more than 15 years to learn English and become a U.S. citizen. She realized her dream in 2016 when she became an American citizen the last day to register to vote in the 2016 election. Grizzard said the highlight of her life was to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the citizenship ceremony. “I cannot tell you how powerful that was,” she beamed.
Students from different regions of Mexico, as well as Honduras, and El Salvador, work hard every Tuesday to improve their skills in speaking English. The common desire expressed among them is to be able to communicate with their children’s teachers at school and with the doctor.
The current class is a beginner class, and as the students progress to higher levels more beginner classes will be added. Grizzard’s vision includes expanding the ministry to offer six levels of English instruction as well as classes needed for GED and U.S. citizenship. Grizzard also notes that although the current class is all Hispanic, people from any country who want to learn English as a second language are welcome to attend.
The first semester will culminate December 18 with a Christmas party where the students will bring their favorite dish from their respective countries. After a Christmas break classes will resume in January in a new semester.
If you know someone who would like to improve their English skills, or if you would like to volunteer to help non-English speakers learn better English please contact the church at 256-831-3221 for more information.