55 students earn certificates for improving English at World Life Institute
Press Release, World Life Institute
WATERPORT – World Life Institute Education Center honored 55 adult students, including 4 new citizens, for their accomplishments in citizenship education, English language improvement and pottery skills on June 28 in Waterport.
The adult education program is a partnership between Orleans-Niagara BOCES and World Life Institute. On hand to congratulate students were Dr. Clark Godshall, superintendent of the Orleans-Niagara BOCES and BOCES board member Maureen Kaus.
Susan Diemert, BOCES literacy specialist, directly in charge of the program, presented new citizens and English language learners with beautiful certificates for their achievements.
Dr. Linda Redfield Shakoor, English language teacher and coordinator at World Life Institute, acted as emcee of the event, attended by more than 75 people.
New U.S. citizens, Maria Castaneda and Julio Escobar, received certificates from their citizenship teacher, Cheryl Lieberman, while Susan Diemert draped leis of red white and blue around their necks to welcome them to their new status.
Diemert also gave a special recognition Linda Redfield, who earned her Ph.D. from Niagara University this spring. New citizen student, Emilio Gomez, stated how he can now vote for the first time in a U.S. election and can travel more freely as well as help his family more.
Dr. Redfield noted how agricultural workers have more challenges becoming citizens due to language, literacy, and technology gaps as well as economic and immigration policy challenges. The adult education program in Waterport assists each student with the entire educational process.
Citizenship and English language teachers at World Life Institute teach daily morning and evening classes that help agricultural workers overcome obstacles to becoming citizens. This year, seven new agricultural workers are enrolled in the citizenship class and anticipate taking their tests in the next 18 months.
Most students spend at least two years in weekly evening classes improving their English and studying U.S. history and government to pass the U.S. citizenship test. Teachers help students through the long application process and speak only English to primarily Latino students.
In addition to Dr. Redfield, teaching responsibilities at the Waterport site are shared by Cheryl Lieberman, Deborah Wilson, Monica Beck, Gejlana Carter and Harris Lieberman.
A classroom in the Waterport facility was devoted to a display of new pottery creations by students in the World Life Institute-GO Art! sponsored Voices from the Earth program. The program offers weekly classes and periodic workshops that provide the opportunity for agricultural workers and their families to learn pottery skills.
“These classes not only teach artistic skills but provide a relaxing, creative outlet for agricultural workers whose jobs are stressful, both outdoors in apple fields and indoor in greenhouses,” said Deborah Wilson, lead teacher for Voices.
Gregory Hallock, Executive Director of GoArt! was present to help congratulate the students and encourage them to continue in their creative endeavors.
While the majority of students come from Mexico, Intergrow Greenhouses interns from Ukraine, China, Viet Nam, Brazil, and Honduras received recognition.
The evening wrapped up with the students and their families breaking open a piñata from Monte Alban in Medina.