An American Dream Come True
I’m from China. My family moved to New York when I was 19. We lived in Chinatown. Everyone spoke Chinese where I worked at the store, where I bought groceries, and everywhere else I would go. I even got a driver’s license in Chinese!
There wasn’t a need for English in New York, but without English I felt trapped in Chinatown. I wanted more. I always felt like I was standing on the outside watching people do things that I could not. When I had the opportunity to come to Minnesota I seized it because I knew I would be able to go to school. It was my turn.
My first day in Minnesota I opened the Yellow Pages and looked for a school. I found Learning In Style and felt the name was special, but I tried another school first because it was closer to where I was staying. The classes were so big that the teacher couldn’t pay any attention to me. I couldn’t learn anything.
Learning In Style was different. Everyone was so friendly and nice when I arrived. I felt welcomed into a family. This school made me so excited every day. The Sisters and other teachers make it special; they always made sure I understood what they were teaching. Then the next day they would make sure I remembered it.
When I first started attending Learning In Style, I didn’t have the skills or confidence to speak English and barely opened my mouth. I didn’t know how to use a computer or type. My goal was to be able to open my mouth and to understand others, that is all. I was so hungry and interested to learn, and this school made it possible for me to meet and exceed my goals. Learning English feels like I got to open the door I was trapped behind and go out into the world. I still feel my life expanding.
When I decided I was ready to find a job, the teachers helped me find all the information I needed. I remember being in my first interview and being asked if I would be able to answer the phone. It felt so great to say yes! I was hired as a greeter at a hotel. I never thought I would be ready to work for such a big, nationwide company that required me to speak English every day.
The whole American dream has come true for me. I got married and we bought our first house. I have been very successful at my job. My husband and I have opened our own business. Every day, I thank all the angels – the teachers, the volunteers, the donors, the Sisters of St. Joseph – that make this school possible.
Alice Poon, Former Learning In Style Student