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Gorham Adult Education would like to thank our ELL student, Evelin Guerrero, for allowing us to share her personal story. Evelin came to the United States from Equador and has been working for the past 3 1/2 years with her ELL tutor, Peggy Marchand. Evelin has been a valued employee at Jøtul in Gorham for almost two years.

Some years ago, I was scared to move to the United States with my husband, who is a citizen from Buxton. Maine. I was scared because I wasn’t sure what my life would be away from my country. The day I was ready to take the airplane, my mother gave me a big hug and she said to me, “ My dear daughter, if you feel lonely sad, or your husband’s family is not good with you, please come back home. We will be waiting for you.”

My heart was beating fast. I said to my mother, “Everything is going to be ok. Do not worry, Mom. My husband is a good man. He will be good out there and I am completely sure his family will be good to me, too.” In my heart I knew everything will be ok.

Most of the time on my trip, my first on an airplane, I was looking at the clouds. It was so beautiful. When my husband told me we were close to landing, I remember looking down and the first thing I saw was FortGorges. What a wonderful view! In that specific moment I felt completely ready for the change.

I feel very proud and happy living here in this country. I am thankful for the loving family my husband and I have formed. We have a son who is our strength. I am thankful for my husband’s family and the friends that we value and love so much. We are surrounded with people who care about each other. I have a great community.

I have a job with a company where I am developing assembly skills. I have learned how gas stoves work and how to inspect them. My company has an idea system where they encourage me to propose ideas in how to make work more efficient and at the same time I improve my English learning.

This is a remarkable country with opportunities for those who come from other countries looking for a better life. I am very happy living in the United States. This country has given me so much. Everyone here has given me the chance to be part of their communities, like my school, work, and friends. Gorham Adult Education, my school, has opened the doors for me being able to learn a new language in the ESL Program, called “English as a Second Language.” I’ve had wonderful teachers who give their time to help newcomers. Day by day, I have put my effort to get ahead, learning a new language and being part of new customs. I know that I still have a long way to go, but I will achieve my goals little by little.

I want to be a citizen because I love this country, love the people. I want to stay. I want to be a part of this country. I would love to have the right to vote. Here is my family, my life. Everything that I have built with effort and love is here. I would like to be able to leave the country without the fear of not being able to return. I want to be a citizen of the United States for all these reasons.

Ahmed grew up in Iraq. When the war began, his father, who could speak and read English, was recruited to work with the US military. Later, he was hired by Associated Press and given access to highly sensitive locations and people. Because of this, Ahmed’s father became a target and was killed. Ahmed, his mother, and two siblings were on their own in a very hostile place. Despite being very young, Ahmed became the “head” of the family, and they soon fled to safety in Jordan.

After living in a single room in Jordan for a year, the family’s request to immigrate to the US was denied. Discouraged, Ahmed and his family returned to Iraq where they were bullied for their desire to get away. Having only .50 meant to buy his lunch, Ahmed decided to visit an internet café and contact the US government for one last desperate try. It worked!

Since entering the US, Ahmed has been working to improve his English skills and earn an American high school diploma. He will graduate from Biddeford Adult Education in June and has been accepted into Maine Maritime Academy for the Fall of 2018. The folks at Biddeford Adult Education will be cheering him on every step of the way!!

The classes at Lewiston High School included one on electric vehicles held in a basement garage to one on yoga and meditation in a carpeted classroom. Bill Hensley, a Lewiston School Department technology support specialist, shared his knowledge of electric cars. Stasia Minkowsky, who teaches meditation at Lewiston Adult Education, showed how to combine meditation and yoga poses.

Laura Personette, program coordinator of 4H Community Central taught about the kinds of butterflies in the area and what kind of plants will draw them to a person’s yard. Students planted seeds of zinnias or butterfly weed in plant pots to help begin a potential butterfly garden at their homes.

Shanelle Coolidge of United Ambulance taught the day-long CPR/First Aid class to students. In addition to CPR, students learned how to apply bandages and how to use an EpiPen if a person is suffering an allergic reaction. Nancy Callahan held an all-day Henna class about that began with a description of designs before students got to work on designs on their hands.