Archive for Tuesday, January 8, 1991

CLASS APPRECIATED

January 8, 1991

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To the Editor:

I am writing for my wife to thank the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the many church members who helped teach her English.

Last September, my wife received a letter from the church inviting her to attend an English class, which is specially for the wives of foreigners in Lawrence. My wife, Hsiao-ming, was very excited because that was the very thing she had been looking for. She had been living in this country a short time and struggling to adapt to a totally different society. She speaks little English and had no other chances to attend a school.

Later we learned that almost all the wives of the foreign students had received the same letter. There were about 20 students in the class, many of them from China, while the others were from Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, etc. These students were taught by about 10 teachers who were mostly retired educators such as Mary Armstrong and Donald Binns. Everything from the schedule to the reading material was carefully designed for students like my wife. The class was on Wednesdays, which was the most convenient for the students. For those who either did not drive or didn't have cars, the teachers picked them up and sent them home every time. All the teachers were volunteers and the only cost for attending the English class was several dollars for a textbook. The church also offered scholarships for those who could not afford to buy this textbook.

It is very important for the students that the English class not only taught English but also provided access to the culture of this society, because people like my wife are isolated from real American life. At every class, the students were served some snacks and drinks. According to my wife, the church managed to give a collective birthday party in October for some students. The students also had a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

One thing I must point out is that just like the invitation stated, the students have no obligation to convert to the beliefs of the church members. The practice of the whole semester has proved it.

The first semester has passed and my wife benefited so much from the English class. Not only did she learn English, but she enjoyed the courtesy and friendship. Everything in the class has been so education that she won't forget and she certainly will miss all the nice American teachers.

Hsin Chang Shen,

1026 W. 24th

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