We are thrilled to announce that one of our English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students, Jennifer Torres, is being awarded a First Literacy Scholarship.

A student in the ESOL Level 2 class at TRA-Worcester, Jennifer was nominated for the award by her ESOL teacher, Amy Stark. Amy describes Jennifer as “a hard worker who is dedicated to improving her English”.

Before classes were held remotely, Jennifer attended class faithfully even though she had worked all day, and had to drive 30 minutes to get to our location. She came to class prepared, participated in discussions, and readily volunteered to share her answers with the class.

Born in Puerto Rico, Jennifer came to Massachusetts two years ago to pursue a professional career. She has persevered through many difficulties and her resilience serves as a role model for her family, colleagues and community.

In order to qualify for the scholarship Jennifer had to write a personal essay, submit two recommendations (one from her teacher and one from her work supervisor), and be interviewed (in English!) by a scholarship panel. After her interview, she was delighted to report that she understood all their questions. The $1,000 scholarship will go directly to pay tuition at her college, National University College, where she is studying criminal justice/forensic investigation.


Thanks to Amy Stark, TRA-Worcester ESOL Level 2 Teacher, and Cynthia Vlasaty, TRA-Worcester Education and Career Advisor for submitting this story. The program is supported by funding from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Santander Bank Foundation and Berkshire Bank Foundation.


About First Literacy
First Literacy’s mission is to ensure that adults with low-literacy or limited English proficiency have high-quality educational opportunities that enable them to thrive as individuals and as family members, in their workplaces, and in their communities. As part of their mission, First Literacy annually awards $1,000 scholarships to recent graduates of Massachusetts adult basic education or English language programs who are continuing to vocational training or higher education. Read more: https://firstliteracy.org/

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