By Mercedes Manzolillo
MONTICELLO June 24, 2003 Sullivan County BOCES evidently can lay claim to having the largest and most diverse graduating class in Sullivan County this year.
The BOCES English as a Second Lanugage (ESL) program had its graduation, called the Sullivan County Recognition Night, on Thursday. About 200 students hailing from Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Egypt, Italy, Brazil, Bangladesh, Turkey, India, Columbia, Poland, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, Israel, Estonia, Ukraine, China, Albania, Russia, and Argentina received their diplomas.
In the opening speech, Steven Sharoff, the Director of Adult and Continuing Education at BOCES Adult Education Center in Monticello, talked about his familys coming to America way back when.
I am a grandson of immigrants, Sharoff said. We come from immigrants they worked very hard so their children and grandchildren could have a better life.
Sharoff also congratulated the students by saying, This should only be the first step in your education you will enrich America.
Gulten Bici, one of the graduating students, also spoke, saying she is happy that she can speak, write, and understand English.
I have enough confidence in myself to go out there and speak to anyone without worrying, said Bici proudly.
Jairo Jaramillo, another graduate, spoke as well. He thanked his teachers and BOCES for helping him to learn English and also congratulated his fellow students.
The certificates were presented by ESL instructors Ely White, Patricia McCoy, Azucena Avella, Jeanne Zager, and Sharoff. Kristine Walsh-Gallett, the computer technology teacher, took pictures of each of the students receiving their certificate. (Veronica Bassell is also an ESL instructor, but she couldnt make it to the ceremony.)
Walsh-Gallett also had a few words to say to her students: Each of you are so much a part of this community, I want to congratulate each of you, she said.
Forty-five of the 200 students graduating were there to accept their certificates.
In the ESL 2002 Upper Level Evening Class were Olga Chishchenya, Barbara Czajka, Agnieszka Darmograj, Paola Dendariarena, Delia Diaz, Yean Feldman, Jairo Jaramillo, Jaroslav Litwiniuk, John Mesa, Disi Mizelle, Maria Monclova, Luz Moreno, Mabel Pabon, Bozena Prochniak, Doris Vaca, Martha Valencia, and Luis Carvo.
In the ESL 2005 Basic Level Evening Class are Janete Cook, America Guillermo, Antonio Hernandez, Patricia Jimenez, Tereze Lumci, Victor Lumci, Celicia Monasterio, Jose Ortiz, Mario Pannullo, Sryatoslava Strom, Angel Toledo, Ariel Wingord, Rolando Wingord, Manuel Zarate, and Amelia Zavella.
In the ESL 2006 Upper Level Morning Class are Mary Achenkunju, Gulten Bici, Marta Bustamante, Mai Chan, Luda Danser, Ilana Mayerson, Sabita Nathmoni, Sayed Saad, Christine Silva, Grace Tews, Rodrigo Trujillo, and German Zapata.
Sharoff also said some words that he hoped all would remember:
This tiny county has people from all over the world.