When Sara Mendez came to Mountain View in the fall of 2011, she had few English language skills. Starting at the first level, she diligently applied herself to the tasks of learning English and attaining her high school diploma. Ms. Reamer, Sara’s ESOL teacher, commented, “Sara is a rock star! From level 1 to graduation in 4.5 years is almost unheard of in the county…. She is tenacious and self-driven.” In addition to her language skills, she learned to be an independent learner, to keep her goals in sight, and to have patience. Sara observed, “I know that…patience will help me a lot in the future because in this country we meet many people from other countries and different cultures.” Sara’s teachers know she has the determination to succeed. Sara’s goal is to become a certified medical assistant and she will enroll in this program upon graduation.
Studying Business Management and possibly running her own salon one day is high on Jhenifer Martinez’s list of priorities. In her current job she is the only person who speaks Spanish, and has learned the value of that skill. Stylists frequently ask for her help with Spanish speaking clients, and Jhenifer often stays with the client through the haircut or color, knowing that the client feels more comfortable receiving a service when she is close and can answer a question or explain a process. She loves helping people feel beautiful and truly loves her job in the salon. Being bilingual is a great advantage, she wrote in her essay, especially living in an area where so many people speak Spanish. Her goal of providing a service and running a business will be only be enhanced by her bilingual skills. We are happy to present her with the Kris Hall Memorial Scholarship.
KARLA BOLONOS MEJIA remembers the day she arrived in the United States. She had mixed feelings, a sense of loss for the people and things she had left behind, but somewhat excited about the “whole new life” ahead of her. Her first day at Westfield High School was the scariest of her life. She completely forgot the few practiced English phrases her sister had tried to teach her. She was terrified – she was an ESOL student. Now when she looks back on those days and sees how much she has learned, accomplished and overcome – she feels awesome – and thanks all her ESOL teachers who lived the journey with her, cheering her on and lending support. Today she is proud to be bilingual, and ready to take the next step to NVCC and study Business and Marketing. She is fully aware of the benefit of being able to speak two languages in today’s world. I am proud to be able to award her this scholarship honoring Kris Hall, Mountain View’s first ESOL department chair.