ESOL English for Speakers of Other Languages

The mission of the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program is to facilitate communication within the increasingly diverse population in Rockbridge County. Although ESOL has focused on the Latina/o community, the program works with speakers of all languages. We offer formal ESOL classes and one-on-one tutoring arrangements, Spanish classes for adults, free translation of documents (Spanish-English/English-Spanish), and a hotline to provide immediate interpreting services.

Contact: Angel Vela de la Garza Evia '18 and esol@wlu.edu

Constitution

ESOL Mission Statement

The mission of the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program is to facilitate communication within the increasingly diverse population in Rockbridge County. Although ESOL has focused on the Latina/o community, the program works with speakers of all languages. We offer formal ESOL classes and one-on-one tutoring arrangements, Spanish classes for adults, free translation of documents (Spanish-English/English-Spanish), and a hotline to provide immediate interpreting services.

History

The seed for ESOL was planted by Erin Johnson '04 in the Fall of 2002. Recognizing the needs and desire of the growing Hispanic population in Rockbridge County for language instruction and services to ease the transition into life in the area, Erin began working with Professor Ellen Mayock to establish what would become ESOL. Besides recruiting other Spanish students, Erin and Professor Mayock communicated with W&L's Nabors Service League, the Shepherd Poverty Program, Ms. Carol E. Jones of Rockbridge County Library, Professor Kathleen Bulger-Barnett of VMI, and Professor Jeff Barnett of Global Stewardship. With the help and cooperation of these individuals, Erin and Professor Mayock organized a group of willing student chairs to establish ESOL and recruit other volunteers to teach and tutor English and publicize ESOL's services throughout Lexington. Under the wing of Nabors Service League, formal ESOL classes began in winter of 2003 while the ESOL student chairs contemplated the development and direction of the organization.

During Spring Term 2003 and throughout the ensuing summer, Kara Harbert '04 assumed the position of Student Chair and worked with Professor Mayock to further develop ESOL. By Fall Term, five committees had been designated with two dedicated co-chairs for each: Education (Matt Watson '04 & Annie Rochfort '05), Translation (Pat Fleming '04 & Meg Strother '06), Hotline (Peter Ervin '04 & Andrés Amerikaner '05), Grant Writing (Erin Johnson '04), and Publicity (Kyle Meehan '04 & Charlotte Grumley '04). In winter 2004, ESOL student chairs voted to assume sovereignty as its own organization, leaving Nabors. ESOL has now been functioning for four calendar years and has added the Spanish Committee, which offers Spanish classes for adults of the Rockbridge community. ESOL maintains regular communication and contact with Rockbridge Regional Library employees and VMI's Professor Kathleen Bulgar-Barnett.

Membership Requirements

ESOL makes no requirements for membership in the organization other than an interest in helping the non-English speaking members of Rockbridge County. Each member who tutors students or families must attend a tutor training each year.

Benefiting W&L and Greater Community

ESOL provides tutoring for the greater Lexington Community helping the people we work with to become more active members of the community. We also help many students in both the Lexington School System and the County School system. Teachers have provided feedback that many of the students we work with have greatly improved because of our services. All of this has improved the Washington and Lee name in the greater community.

ESOL also provides significant translation and tutoring services. We have volunteers help at DAPA/DACA clinics at the Law School. We also were the main translation team for the booklet included in the Chicano Art Exhibit and have provided significant translations for various projects throughout the year.

Leadership Positions

Leadership positions include President, Family and In-Home Tutor Coordinator, In-School Tutor Coordinator, and Translations Coordinator.