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ESOL – English Speakers of Other Languages at Holy Cross

ESOL – English Speakers of Other Languages

ESL – English as a Second Language

ELL – English Language Learners

I am an immigrant from Germany and I teach ESOL at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon. I have been with our ESOL program from the very beginning.

We met many times in the fall of 2002 and started our first ESOL semester in February of 2003. We started our 14th year teaching ESOL in September 2016. We teach a fall, spring and summer semester. We conduct classes every Monday and Wednesday from 7:00 to 9:00 in the evening.

We taught students from 38 countries in our 14 years.

During that time:

  • 15 students became American citizen
  • 6 went on to university
  • Robin Drummond taught 26 students to drive a car
  • Many went on to better jobs
  • Three students lost their lives while attending classes

We find food, clothing and furniture for families that come here with nothing. Pastor Jones and Robin Drummond were instrumental helping students find apartments, rent rooms and even buy houses.

We connect students to food banks, free or low cost dentist  and health care.

We provide food at the beginning of each class because many students do not eat prior to class. We thank Anne and Roy Geiger who provide a meal for our students once a month.

Free babysitting is essential to ESOL. Most students could not attend classes if we didn’t have our nursery attendants, Beatriz Orellana and Madeline Vargas. Thank you, ladies!

Suzanne Flegal, Christine Bretz, Robin Drummond and I started ESOL in 2002. Soon after, Jeanne Maysonett, Suzanne Baggett and Tuula Toney volunteered to teach ESOL. Karen Faulkner helps us to register and assess students and in class. Presently, only four teachers work in our ESOL program. We hope to find one more teacher for the coming semester.

Katherine Vargas is our youngest teacher and already very experienced, after teaching our students for the past 3 years. Katherine started teaching together with Paolo Dugo, who volunteered before he went to college.

We had a few guest teachers and welcome more anytime. Joan MacAdams presented an American flag to our newest citizen, Vicky. She also told our students the history of our flag. Mike Rose taught our students what to do in an emergency or if a disaster strikes. Tibbie Preston and Rita Hacker volunteered with ESOL for several years. We are grateful to each of you for helping and caring about our students.

All students and teachers are extremely grateful for the wonderful ESOL donation received this year.  We now have textbooks for 3 out of 4 classes.

We also thank each of you at Holy Cross for helping our students on several different occasions, including providing Christmas gifts, food and clothing for our students.

God bless,

Ellen Atwell

ESOL Program, Director

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