EWC Student Earns Award
May 14, 2003
(Torrington, WY) Eastern Wyoming College English as a Second Language (ESL) student Jose Velazquez was chosen as the outstanding ESL student this year for the State of Wyoming. Velazquez was named the winner at the state Adult Basic Education (ABE) Conference in Casper for his outstanding student performance this year. ABE Lead Instructor, Madelon Daniels and Dee Ludwig, ABE Director, nominated Velazquez for the award. He came to the United States 18 years ago with experience as an assistant bookkeeper, computer keypunch operator and a certified first response ambulance driver for the Red Cross. He found work in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, first at Western Valley Packing as a hide puller and then as a flanker at the Packerland slaughterhouse.
During this time, he spoke little English at work, falling into the habit of speaking only Spanish with his co-workers in the "Little Mexico" on the job. His family encouraged him to use English at home, but was not adamant about it until he started ESL classes after he was
diagnosed with severe carpal tunnel injuries to both of his hands. Not only did Velazquez become an inactive employee, he was also no longer able to play the guitar with his eight-member band, "Grupo Cain."
Velazquez is a dedicated student, having come to class at EWC for more than 500 hours since July 2002. In addition, he studies with another teacher at the EvenStart facility for approximately four hours a week. At home, Velazquez reviews and reinforces his English skills by using "Hooked on Phonics." Velazquez is cheerful and willing to tackle any challenge. He is a natural teacher, which is apparent during group ESL instruction when he serves as interpreter and clarifies concepts in Spanish for those not as proficient as he. His English writing skills are excellent and he is an articulate speaker.
He volunteers his time as a youth soccer coach in the community. He and his wife, Patsy, have five children who have all attended college. His short-term goal is to become a teacher's aide in an adult education setting.
ABE/GED/ESL instructor, Antonette Curren, received the ABE Achievement Award for instruction also at the same conference. Ms. Curren, who resides on her ranch, 10 miles from Aladdin, on a dirt road, has been an ABE/GED/ESL instructor since 1982 in several communities in Crook County, Wyoming. She has worked for Hulett Community Education since 2000 and also drives school bus. Outreach coordinator for Hulett, Laura Lynn, praised Curren in her letter of recommendation for her dedication and faithfulness to her classes year after year. When asked what has kept her in Adult Education through the years, Antonette's answer was, "Because it is so rewarding."
For more information on ABE/GED/ESL at Eastern Wyoming College contact Madelon Daniels at 307.532.8399.