Spotlighting Socorro Martinez from One91 School for Adults
Socorro Martinez’s path to learning English has been a long and winding one. Born in Tijuana, Mexico, and growing up in a Spanish-speaking household in San Bernardino, California, Martinez didn’t start picking up little bits of the language until adulthood when she’d watch Sesame Street with her children.
Martinez and her family moved to Minnesota in 1981. Raising multilingual children, she learned a few phrases here and there, but still didn’t have the vocabulary she sometimes needed for activities like returning items to a clothing store.
“I would get frustrated and leave the store and cry because I couldn’t say what I wanted to say because I didn’t have the words,” Martinez said.
That’s begun to change in the last year. In the summer of 2022, Martinez saw the District 191 Community Education catalog and decided to enroll in an English class. Through that class, she’s increased her vocabulary and improved her grammar to the point where she feels comfortable having conversations in situations where she used to avoid them.
“As a banquet server, I used to not leave the kitchen at parties. Now I feel more confident going out and talking to people,” she said. “I feel so much more secure now about myself, now that I can really say what I want to say. Now I know how to say it the right way.”
Martinez has now taken classes in math and computer basics, as well, with the goal of obtaining her GED. She then hopes to attend culinary school like her son, who is a chef.
“I want to show my grandkids that if I can do it, they can do it,” she said.
Martinez credits the great teachers in the One91 School for Adults for helping her improve her English so quickly.
“The teachers are the best. They stop the class to explain things and answer questions,” she said. “I’m very thankful to have 191 schools help me achieve my goal to get my GED.”
- Adult Basic Education