Tracy Zhang from China was among 62 earning their certificates from the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada program. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Tracy Zhang from China was among 62 earning their certificates from the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada program. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Newcomer and adult learners celebrate graduation

Aldergrove’s St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church offered its space

Aldergrove’s St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church was the scene of a celebration ground for a multicultural group of students graduating from a local English language school.

The New Directions English Language School collaborated with the local church to hold their eighth graduation ceremony and acknowledge the success of those graduating and those moving closer to their graduation.

Among the 62 students of all ages earning their certificates from the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada program, was Tracy Zhang, who had almost given up midway.

“It was too difficult to understand anything about listening assessments,” she said. “I wanted to give up learning English.”

When she approached her teacher to share her feelings, the staff and her classmates were quick to offer support.

It was a long and memorable journey for Zhang.

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She got the momentum she needed, when teacher Maureen Richardson offered a helping hand.

Now, fluent in English, Zhang believes learning a language is a marathon, not a sprint race.

“Large oaks grow from tiny acorns,” she commented.

Zhang expressed her deep emotions of gratitude to Richardson and her classmates, who encouraged her to continue studies when she felt disheartened.

Hard work did pay off and Zhang finally got her certificate from New Directions English Language School. Equipped with an additional language skill, Zhang will now be taking on another challenge – a level 6 course. Her long term goal is to volunteer and practice English.

Zhang said that she loves Aldergrove, and looking forward to enjoy her time in and around the neighbourhood.

Yvonne Hopp congratulated Zhang and other graduates.

“I hope that everyone find the peace and opportunities they were seeking when they came to Canada,” Hopp said.

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Pastor Dave Taylor of the church, who welcomed everyone to the church expressed his gratitude for being able to provide the facility to teach newcomers English.

Margaret Ann, school’s community program and event coordinator, acknowledged the difficulties, students faced with the COVID restrictions.

“I want to say congratulations, whether pivoting to online classes or hybrid or small in-person classes, wearing masks – which made it so much more difficult to understand each other, whether speaking or listening – you have achieved an incredible goal. You persevered and kept your eyes on the goal. I have utmost admiration for all of you; you did not give up; you stayed the course,” said Ann during the March 9 event.

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Have a story tip? Email: tanmay.ahluwalia@langleyadvancetimes.com

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