HCC to celebrate 30th anniversary of ESL program

HOLYOKE – It started in 1986 as a non-credit, grant-funded program with three part-time instructors. Today, HCC’s English as a Second Language studies program has five levels (four for credit), five full-time professors and more than 10-14 adjuncts teaching 34 different classes each semester.

Over the past 30 years, the ESL program at HCC has helped thousands of non-native speakers prepare to do college-level academic work, in English, on their way to a certificate or associate degree.

On Wed., Oct. 26, Holyoke Community College will celebrate the history and success of what is now the largest and most comprehensive academic ESL program in western Massachusetts.

Holyoke mayor Alex Morse and state Rep. Aaron Vega, ’90, will join ESL students, faculty, staff, and alumni for the 30th anniversary celebration from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the PeoplesBank Room (301/303) of the HCC Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development.

“Thirty years is an accomplishment,” said Eileen Kelley, coordinator of ESL Support Services and a member of the ESL faculty. “This is a chance to celebrate the people in our program, to celebrate our students, what they’ve accomplished and what they can accomplish, and what HCC makes possible for people.”

The event will include short remarks from HCC staff, Mayor Morse and Rep. Vega, lunch, music, conversation and an awards ceremony recognizing alumni and staff for their longtime service to the ESL program.

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