It’s never too late to learn

By on December 28, 2019

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – At 87, Remigia “Remy” Gomez is on a mission to learn English. Each weekday – except Fridays, when language classes are offered – the petite woman quietly strolls into the Whittier Senior Center, finds a space and digs into her bag for her work book. Thumbing through the pages, she finds a lesson plan and begins reviewing her exercises. “The picture is a tent. The letter is T,” she says aloud with a slight accent, pointing to a T outlined in a drawing of a tent. “Tent – T,” she repeats. “T, T … “ When she is not in the conversational English class on Fridays, Gomez practices on her own, she said. “For her to come and be willing to learn at that age shows a real dedication to becoming part of the community she lives in,” said Debbie Roberts, assistant principal at the Whittier Adult School, where demand for English courses for beginning students is growing. The adult school offers a variety of English classes, from English for beginners to more advanced courses, at six sites throughout Whittier. But there is a waiting list for students hoping to enroll in beginning English classes, Roberts said. Most of the Whittier Adult School students are in their 20s or late 30s, she added, but older students like Gomez are not unheard of in the classes. “They \ are unique, and they’re very dedicated students,” Roberts said. According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 1 million adults enrolled in English as a Second Language classes in 2000, the latest year for which figures are available. That number excludes college students and adults taking English at private schools that do not receive federal funding. It also represents 38 percent of the nearly 3 million students who enrolled in adult-education courses in 2000. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Gomez moved to the United States about 10 years ago. She lived in the La Puente area but later moved to Whittier. She said she realized soon after arriving here that living in Southern California would be challenging without knowing English. “I didn’t even know how to go the grocery store to buy certain things because I didn’t how to express myself,” Gomez said in Spanish. “It seemed so difficult for me.” Gomez said she’s always had a love of learning. She even became a U.S. citizen last year. “I spent my life studying,” she said. But in her class at the Whittier Senior Center, Gomez is clearly more comfortable doing her language exercises. When it comes time to speak English with others, she becomes reserved. “She has it all inside of her, but she won’t speak it,” said Theresa Barrios, a Whittier Senior Center volunteer. Gomez’s dedication to learn English is unwavering. “I wish I would have learned it when I was younger,” she said. “Even though I know my mind is getting tired, I won’t let it go. If I don’t learn anything, then that’s it – I didn’t learn anything. “But at least I tried.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024last_img read more

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