Dancing, music and raffles created a festive and welcoming atmosphere at Triton College’s Adult Education Fair April 2 and 3.
The two-day event was organized to encourage people who want to improve their academics, but need fundamental resources to help them achieve that goal. Tables set up in the student center highlighted the resources and clubs the college has available, which are geared to people whose first language is not English.
Adjunct faculty member Ellen Vanderhoof, who helped organize the fair, said the purpose of the event was to highlight the various cultures the college has coming through its doors and to remove barriers through a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere. Salsa dancing and an impromptu Zumba class caught the attention of dozens of people, many of whom joined in the festivities.
“It’s [designed] to highlight the diversity of the campus and get students involved and the administration more involved in these activities,” she said.
Triton’s adult education programs are provided to people over 18 years old who may need to get a General Education Diploma [GED] or improve their English language skills.
“A lot of adults who come here say I need this to get ahead in my job,” Vanderhoof said.
Jessica Juarez, 35, of Cicero, said she’s taken advantage of the college’s English as a Second Language [ESL] classes and attended the fair because she is considering coming back to take more courses. Her primary language is Spanish.
She has already taken ESL classes that have put her at an intermediate level, but wants to complete the more advanced levels.
“I want to come back to study and take ESL classes, reading and math,” she said. “I want to keep improving myself.”
Her daughter, Jessica Garcia, 15, said her mother sometimes put the pressure on her to do the same, but she understands why.
“I’m proud of her, that’s she’s trying,” she said.
Here Lutumba, 22, grew up in Congo, has been in the country less than a year and wants to improve his English language skills as well.
“I want to study English here and speech classes,” he said.
He then hopes to get a degree in business management or marketing.
Vanderhoof said the college’s resources are in place to help make that happen.
“Our adult education program sets them up for success to pursue an associate’s degree,” she said.