2 Heartland cities now offering classes to help people who speak English as a second language

Kennett and Sikeston get a new ESL program

SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - Two cities in the Heartland will now offer classes to help people who speak English as a second language.

Pamela Riehn is the director of the Adult Education Literacy program in Cape Girardeau. She said they will now be offering English as a second language classes to people in Kennett and Sikeston for the first time.

“We have a bonus grant based on our performance here at the Cape district AEL. With that, we decided to expand our English as a second language classes,” she said.

Riehn said there is a need for these classes in rural areas.

"Statistics claim that our internationals in the state of Missouri they usually lean toward rural communities, and In the rural communities they may be somewhere between 25-2,000 internationals per county," she said.

Bridgette Vaughn is an ESL teacher.

"They are needing to learn English language to be able to work, to go to school, to engage," she said.

She said it's hard for internationals when they come here.

"We practice safety more than anything because something as simple as calling 911 is difficult," she said.

Nattthanicha Katanyoowattana is a student in the program and she said it's helpful.

“I’m from Thailand I want to practice my English,” she said.

She also said,"I like to study everything."

Riehn said she hopes the classes have a big turnout.

“If these pilot programs are successful, then I’ll be able to write that in the grant and we hope to receive funding to continue those in the future,” she said.

If your are interested in taking the classes, the Kennett orientation is from 5 to 8 p.m. January 23 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 609 N. Everett St. in Kennett. The classes will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the same location and will run through mid-April. They will start the following week.

The Sikeston orientation, which will be 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. January 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Miner Baptist Church, 416 Route H in Sikeston. Specific class times have not been determined, and Riehn said they will depend on student interest and availability. The Sikeston class will likely run through the end of May.

The classes will have a maximum enrollment of 15 people and a minimum of five.

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