MLHS offers English course

NORTHROP — An English as Second Language course for Spanish-speaking adults is being offered at Martin Luther High School in Northrop.

The 10-week course will be taught Thursday evenings from 7-9 p.m. beginning Feb. 7. The classes are being taught by Veronica Balderas, Martin Luther’s Spanish teacher. The cost is $100 per person.

Balderas is originally from Monterrey, Mexico. She and her husband, both veterinarians, moved to the area nine years ago and began working on a farm. Balderas also has a degree in business management.

“They offered me the opportunity to work [at Martin Luther] as a teacher because the other Spanish teacher was leaving, so I took the job,” Balderas said.

“When I first arrived here, I started going to the ESL class in Fairmont just to practice my English,” she said. “I went to a private school in Mexico for three years just to learn English, but when I arrived here, I noticed the pronunciation is different. When I arrived here, it was really hard for me to understand the English.”

Balderas went on to say that several people at Martin Luther came up with the idea to offer the English as Second Language course to the community. So far, seven people have signed up. Balderas said the group works for a company in Northrop, but originally they are from other places including Columbia, the Philippines and Brazil.

“All of them went to school but don’t have the practice so they want to learn more so they can better communicate,” Balderas explained.

She said the class is an experiment in that it is the first time she has taught something like it, but she believes the advantage is that she can speak both languages.

“When you are coming to the United States, it’s really hard if you don’t have the language,” she said. “It’s frustrating. I know a lot of people who come here and they might know English but it’s still hard to communicate. I’ve been there and I know how it feels so I want to help people in the community.”

In addition to the course being offered at Martin Luther High School, Fairmont Community Education & Recreation offers Adult Basic Education, and one of the classes teaches English skills. It is offered during the day and evening at no charge. Those who particiapte can learn reading, writing and conversing.

Those who wish to register or help someone register for the course at Martin Luther can complete the online form at www.martinlutherhs.com/esl-courses.html or call (507) 436-5249.

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