ESOL Classes Provide Support For Hispanic Students to Succeed


Junior Lorena Widman

Hannah Van Osdel, Writer

Many Wilde Lake High School students have Spanish as their first language, later having to transition to English. Through many years of ESOL (English as a Second Language), these students tell their stories of how transitioning from Spanish to English led to their success.

When Lorena Widman moved to the United States from Colombia, she didn’t know any English. Having been adopted at a young age, her native language growing up was Spanish. Like many former ESOL students, Lorena had to adjust to being efficient with English in school.

“I struggled with English and History classes,” she said. Having received the help she got in the ESOL classes, now Lorena excels in and outside of school. ” I’ve received the gold honor roll this year, and I’m also a player on the Wilde Lake Varsity Softball team,” she said.

Many of these kids receive help from an ESOL class where they can learn English. Lorena has been taking the class for two years.“It was hard when I first came here when I was little, I didn’t know any english,” she said. “But with ESOL I’ve learned a lot.”

Senior Jennifer Canales is also a native Spanish speaker. In school she was a part of ESOL classes from first to sixth grade.

Jennifer was struggling to comprehend and communicate in English. “I could understand someone and what they were saying, but didn’t always know how to respond in English,” said Jennifer.

It was hard for Jennifer to excel in school, especially with parents that spoke little to no English. “My parents speak a little English, but need me to translate for them. It is also hard during parent teacher conferences, because they need a translator to help them,” she said.

Jennifer faced many challenges in school. “Always needing extra help because of my language barrier, people looked at me differently,” she said.

There were numerous times when Jennifer felt like she was struggling to fit in, when people would ridicule her for her English pronunciations. Much like Lorena, Jennifer had trouble with the reading based classes, but in other classes she did extremely well. “I was really good at math,” she said. 

Jennifer, like many hispanic students, has to help her parents with English.  Jennifer is doing well in school, and has learned enough English through her schooling that she is now independently learning. Jennifer was also able to achieve the gold honor roll this year by excelling in her classes.

Reinforced through the stories of Lorena and Jennifer, ESOL students, although not having english as their first language still succeed in school. Both are students that go above and beyond to excel in and out of the classroom.  ESOL strengthened the talents of both girls, helping them to be the people that they are today, and preparing them for their futures that await them.