Student Success Spotlight
Hend was our 2017 guest of honor at Scrabble in the City. She was interviewed by emcee Khambrel Marshall of KPRC, telling just a small part of her story to the guests. We are so proud of Hend, who has only been in classes since late 2016, for being confident to speak to a crowd in her second language!
As well as being our Scrabble guest speaker, Hend appears in our most recent Between the Lines newsletter. Read more here.
Here's a transcript of Hend's Scrabble interview:
Khambrel: Thank you for being here tonight, Hend! You grew up in Egypt, is that right?
Hend: Yes, that’s right, in Cairo.
Khambrel: What do you think about when you remember your childhood?
Hend: I remember being very happy. I had a great life with my father and mother. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters, and I remember us all playing together. Hide and seek was my favorite game. My mother was always very supportive of me right through childhood and through my college years.
Khambrel: So how did you end up in Houston?
Hend: I got married to an engineer, and we came to the United States together. First we went to Boston, and then when he was transferred, we came to Houston.
Khambrel: Did you start learning English in Boston?
Hend: No, I started learning English in Egypt, but we didn’t practice much so I couldn’t speak well when I first arrived. It was my first time in the United States and I didn’t know the people, the culture, it was all new.
Khambrel: So how did you feel, in a city where you couldn’t speak the language?
Hend: It was horrible for me. I have my own accent and the people could not understand me, they would make me feel like I’m not good. I used to have this feeling all the time in Boston, so I don’t like Boston, but I like Houston.
Interviewer: Really? What makes Houston different for you?
Hend: People are friendly and nice and very kind here, not like in Boston. They smile to you. There is more community and more people like me.
Interviewer: What brought you to Literacy Advance?
Hend: I was very shy when we first moved to the United States, but when I knew we would be here forever I knew I could not be shy and that I needed to learn. I came to Literacy Advance in September of 2016. My tutor, Ms Roslyn, I love her so much. She gives me so much information and helps me with pronunciation. When I say the right pronunciation, I feel confident, and people can understand me without always saying “Sorry?” and “What did you say?”
Interviewer: What plans do you have for yourself and your children?
Hend: I have started my own business, baking cakes. I like creativity, it’s my first hobby. I made a website, and I’m enjoying all the possibilities of having my own business.
And I want to use my degree. I have a degree in dermatology, from Egypt, but first I want to be more confident with speaking English more and more. I’m looking at HCC for classes in ultrasound technology.
My husband and I have two kids – the oldest is great at science and math, and she wants to be a scientist. The other is too little yet to know what he wants.
So with all of that, I’m very busy! But I enjoy being busy and active, so it’s good.
Interviewer: That sounds wonderful. To finish, what would you like to say to the people here tonight, who help make free English classes possible for people like you?
Hend: I just want to say:
I am so pleased to be standing here today talking to you all in English. Less than a year ago that would have been very challenging but I was very lucky to be able to go to this program and start to gain confidence talking to people in English, and even here in front of a crowd, woohoo!
Everyone at Literacy Advance has supported me so much. When I talk to anyone here, they all help me to start my own life in Houston, my own business. Diana even helped me with my resume and internet searching and all those things.
When you support Literacy Advance, you give a chance for many students to learn English, and you give them hope for knowing other people, to meet together and to know the cultures of other countries. I am very grateful.
Larry Dierker spoke briefly at Scrabble too - and highlighted how Hend's story shows the impact of literacy on both the adults and the children in a family. Hend's kids have such a bright future, and it becomes even brighter the more their parents are confidently engaged with the society and culture around them. That comes through language.
Your gift today can help both parents and kids - invest in the parents, and the kids come along too! Will you give the gift of English - and a future - to a family today?
Click on the image above for details.
- 205 basic reading students (Adult Basic Education, or ABE)
- 1,325 basic English students (English as a Second Language, or ESL)
- 800 classes
- 99% of students made progress toward a life goal
- 235 volunteer tutors
- 16 Family Literacy Events
- 1,550 Family Literacy attendees
- 1 new satellite campus - Waller County!