The Martha’s Vineyard Adult Learning Program celebrated the completion of its 14th year of teaching English to adult immigrants with a ceremony at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School’s Performing Arts Center in early April.
The student body hailed from 14 different countries: Thailand, Korea, Russia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Columbia, Honduras, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Spain, and Romania. The joy-filled evening included song, poetry, speeches and delicious food, all student-produced.
Family and community members filled the audience. Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss congratulated the hard work of students in remarks.
The program is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education and contributions from the following Island businesses: The Ocean View, Offshore Ale, The Wharf, Dock Street Coffee Shop, Mansion House Hotel, Café Moxie, Tropical Restaurant, Tropical Bakery, the YMCA, Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School and the Martha’s Vineyard Family Center.
In remarks, student Wesley de Souza from Brazil spoke about the dreams of an immigrant. “If you have big dreams, that will require of you great challenges,” he said. “We dreamed of one day coming to the United States to fight for our dreams.
We had many challenges, like homesickness, distance, fear. But one of our major challenges is to learn a new language. It is not easy.
We are here on this night because we are struggling with this challenge. We are fighting for our dreams. We are fighting for a better life within society, fighting for better opportunity, better communication and much more.”
The director of the adult learning program is Jeanne Burke. For more information about classes, visit mvalp.com.