Nydia Perez moved to Nebraska City from her native Colombia 10 years ago in May. She took some English classes that were offered at the public library. She also developed English skills on the job at Arbor Day Farm and Lied Lodge.  
Then, in October of 2017, her daughter, Maritza Ibarra, and three grandchildren arrived in Nebraska City. Ibarra needed to learn English, so Perez accompanied her to the free classes offered through Southeast Community College at The Learning Center.
 Students are given a placement test when they enroll and are tested again after 60 hours of instruction. Ibarra hit the 60-hour mark in March. Perez was delayed because minor surgery kept her out of class for a few weeks in January.
But when she took the 60-hour test in May, she scored well above thelll level required to “graduate” from the ESL program.
Perez says her studies have made her much more comfortable speaking English in daily life. “I use my English a lot more at work,” she said.
ESL instructor Laura French said, “Nydia is a quiet person, and it has been fun to see her gain confidence. She has a gift for storytelling!”
For many students, completing the ESL requirement is a step toward getting a GED or starting for-credit classes at SCC. Perez already completed college in Colombia, where she worked as an administrative assistant in several government agencies. She’ll continue to develop her English skills on the job and with her daughter and grandchildren.
“I’m really pleased with Nydia’s success,” French said, “but it’s bittersweet. I will miss seeing her in class every week.”
For more information on the Adult Education programs at SCC, go to: https://www.southeast.edu/continuing/basicskillsgedeslandcitizenship or call Lynn Saffer at 402-437-2719.