‘Someday soon you’ll speak English just fine’
• Adult education volunteers win award for dedication to ESL students
By Naomi Klouda
HOMER TRIBUNE/Naomi Klouda - All four of Kachemak Bay Campus’ Adult Education instructors and volunteers have won awards for their work. Left to right: Full-time instructor Jan Peyton, volunteer tutor Jane Regan, GED-examiner/volunteer Kyra Wagner and full-time instructor Lolita Brache. This year, Wagner and Regan were selected for recognition from the Alaska Adult Education Association, with Peyton and Brache being previous year winners.
Students at Kachemak Bay Campus studying English as a second language are finding much more than just basic instruction from volunteer teachers Jane Regan and Kyra Wagner; they’re finding a welcoming home.
Volunteer tutor Jane Regan and GED examiner Kyra Wagner were each recently recognized by the Alaska Adult Education Association for their teaching efforts. Regan brought home the “Rising Star” award, while Wagner picked up recognition as Volunteer of the Year.
KBC Director Carol Swartz announced the awards Friday, outlining the two tutors’ special talents in working with each of their students.
ESL students come from all over the world, including Brazil, Mexico, China, Russia and Korea. Regan works individually tutoring students, then takes them out of their West Campus classroom to face the English-speaking world. Students have a variety of challenges and many goals, from gaining a driver’s license, to achieving good-enough English skills to secure a job.
“She organized field trips in order for students to experience their new culture and increase their understanding of our community firsthand,” Swartz wrote about Regan in a press release. “Each trip gave students unique opportunities to learn new vocabulary in context as they practiced their skills in ‘real-life’ environments.”
Trips included the Nomar factory, Homer City Hall, the Pratt Museum and the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitors Center. The group also visited the Homer Theatre where they were shown the workings of the projector room, and South Peninsula Hospital where they found out a telephonic translation system is available to non-English speakers if they should ever require emergency medical help.
“I’m finding out about my community along with them,” Regan said.
Regan functions as more than just a tutor – she is an advocate for the students. “She is constantly thinking of how she can inspire them,” Swartz wrote. “She has assisted students with medical needs, driver’s education and various other life challenges. She is an inspiration to all.”
KBC’s second statewide award winner is Wagner. Though she serves as the campus’s part-time GED examiner, she has also been a “volunteer extraordinaire,” contributing countless hours to helping ESL students and thereby earning the Alaska Adult Association’s Volunteer of the Year award, Swartz wrote.
Wagner started her affiliation with the Adult Ed program nine years ago as a VISTA volunteer. At that time, the program featured a daycare program to help parents with their children so they could attend class.
“Kyra has generously offered her time for several years,” Swartz wrote. “Both her technical skills and her way of working with students have been invaluable. Kyra has volunteered massive amounts of time helping students publish their personal stories; editing, finding illustrations and printing so the students can see their work in a published form. She has been instrumental and resourceful in our program’s ability to publish an anthology of student stories and recipes in book format.”
The booklet, called “Kachemak Voices,” came out last year. Publishing students’ stories resulted in “students feeling a tremendous sense of accomplishment while improving their literacy and quality of life,” Swartz said.
Both Regan and Wagner work with KBC’s two full-time ESL instructors, Jan Peyton and Lolita Brache.
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Posted by Newsroom
on Nov 4th, 2009 and filed under Youth
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