Centro San Juan Diego Monthly Newsletter
EDUCATION: THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE (COVID) TUNNEL
As summer comes to an end, Centro San Juan Diego celebrates the successful conclusion of another session of classes. Both the Citizenship in English and English as a Second Language language classes were the first of their type to be completely executed online! Over the past few months, Centro San Juan Diego's students and volunteers have continued to demonstrate their adaptability and commitment to learning.
Despite some initial challenges, the switch to online learning has been well received. We have observed higher class retention rates and greater student satisfaction overall. Many students are grateful for the opportunity to advance their education from home while avoiding long commutes and potential exposure to COVID-19.
Like all of us, Centro's students have been impacted by the pandemic. Some have gotten sick, lost their jobs, or had their hours reduced. Despite these losses, however, they know that what they have learned will eventually pay off both in the working world and at home. One student from the citizenship class says, "It helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing that I'm doing something that will benefit me in the end." Another ESL student notes that the class "allowed me to focus my energy on learning English and improving my opportunities instead of thinking about the tragedy and hardship" that the pandemic has caused for so many.
Resilience has always been a mark of the immigrant community, and this pandemic only serves as further proof of that distinction! We are so proud of all our students who put this resiliency into action by advancing their education in pursuit of a better life and better opportunities. Congratulations to all of Centro's most recent graduates! Keep up the good work!
STUDENT UPDATE: TOMASA RIOS
Tomasa Rios graduated from Centro San Juan Diego's GED class in June of 2019, passing all four exams on her first try! After receiving the exam results, she enrolled in Centro's UPAEP Online bachelor's degree program in Industrial Engineering.
Now, a little over a year later, Tomasa is set to start her third quarter of classes in the fall. "All of my classes have been so interesting," she says. "I loved algebra; and statistics has shown me that there is so much more to numbers than meets the eye!" Another course has introduced Tomasa to the “fascinating world” of e-commerce. Since taking the class, she has already helped two people start their own businesses! After finishing her degree, she hopes to continue helping fellow Spanish-speakers grow their businesses with her expertise in financial development and e-commerce.
Tomasa continues to work at a local hospital and says that her employers have noticed the fruits of her studies as well, giving her responsibilities beyond her cleaning duties. "I'm going to start working in the cafeteria, and hopefully I will start doing statistics and inventories soon," she comments. "This is just the beginning, but I know that more doors will open for me. There are many opportunities for growth here."
Tomasa's pursuit of higher education has brought pride and joy to her life outside of work as well. She knows her daughters are proud of her, and her grandson even asks to help her with her homework when he sees her working on the computer. "I'll open up a Word document for him and he'll type his name. He'll say, 'There you go, grandma! I helped you!' and I can see how it builds his confidence to see his grandma studying."
After 32 years of not studying, Tomasa is working towards her degree in addition to being a mother, a grandmother, and having a full time job. "Anyone can do it!" she exclaims. "If you focus on your goals, they can be achieved with hard work and dedication." Tomasa says she is grateful to Centro San Juan Diego and UPAEP Online for giving her the opportunity to continue studying and for helping her to achieve her goals.
It is our pleasure, Tomasa! Thank
for making the decision to invest in yourself, your family, and your community!
CO SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CARLOS SAMOUR ON GIVING BACK THROUGH OUR COURTS
For several years, Centro San Juan Diego has partnered with Our Courts Colorado to bring informational presentations about the state and federal courts in Colorado to Centro's classes. The presentations are typically given by local judges or lawyers who volunteer for Our Courts.
One of these volunteers, Justice Carlos Samour, has a special place in his heart for Centro San Juan Diego and its students. “I fell in love with it the first time I was there, and I always enjoy coming back,” he says. "It's something I can really connect with, because I went through it myself."
Justice Samour, who has served on the Colorado Supreme Court since 2018, left El Salvador with his family when he was just 13 years old. At the time, intense political upheaval had created a very dangerous situation for many, including the Samour family; so, they packed up their family van and came to the United States. "The idea was to leave, let things calm down, and return. But of course, things never calmed down. My parents came to the realization that we wouldn't be able to go back," he says. The Samour family arrived in Colorado on vacation visas and, after a series of renewals, went through the naturalization process.
"I sat in those seats where the people that I’m talking to are sitting now. I can relate to them and I can tell them about my experience," he says. For this reason, the lecture portion of the presentation on the courts often evolves into a deeper discussion about shared experiences, hopes, and dreams. "If I can do what I've done, imagine what you can do, what your kids can do," he tells students, assuring them that this country has so much to offer; that with hard work, passion, a lot of prayer, and people to encourage and mentor them along the way, good things will happen.
Grateful to have received help and mentoring throughout his own career, Justice Samour acknowledges his own responsibility to provide the same for others. It is a responsibility he takes seriously, but joyfully as well. "I just love doing it. I love interacting with them and hearing their stories," he says, convinced that he actually gets more out of the experience than the students he works with at Centro.
Like Justice Samour, Centro San Juan Diego strives to fulfill this responsibility joyfully, sharing in the struggles and celebrating the successes of all our students, equipping them with the necessary skills and education to realize their true potential.
WORLD DAY FOR MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES MASS
In union with Pope Francis, Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez will celebrate Mass for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, September 27th. Pope Francis has dedicated this day to "internally displaced persons" who have suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To read more about this Mass, visit the Denver Catholic website
September 27 at 3:00 pm
The Mass will be livestreamed through archdiocesan channels. To view the livestream, please visit any of the following websites:
Archdiocese of Denver
El Pueblo Católico
on Wednesday, September 9 at 1:35PM