The Haywood Community College Adult Education Department presented the 2011 Excellence in English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) Award to Teresa Esquivel for determination in learning English and for humanitarian achievements in her community.

In 2006, when Esquivel started taking ESL classes at HCC, she had minimal English but a strong determination to learn the language. Since that time, she has been a dedicated student, attending one or more classes every semester. Her efforts have paid off; she now works part time as a career coach at Job Link, part of HCC’s West Waynesville Campus in Hazelwood.

In addition to boosting her professional life, Esquivel’s knowledge of English has benefited her three children. A devoted wife and mother, she has used her English skills to empower her children to excel in school, which has resulted in all three being inducted into their respective school honor societies.

“I think that knowing English has allowed me to be deeply involved in my children’s academic lives,” Esquivel said.

Esquivel’s dedication also extends to her community. She volunteers at Life Works, a spiritual Jesus-centered Baptist Women’s Relief Center program designed to encourage women who are experiencing a bad situation to finish high school and get a job or a better job. In addition, she volunteers at the Haywood Christian Ministries Thrift Store and at her church, St. John’s in Waynesville, assisting the teacher in the Faith Formation prekindergarten class. Finally Esquivel volunteers in an afternoon Bible class at Clyde Elementary School once a week.

Esquivel has earned her Life Skills Certificate from the Baptist Women’s Relief Center and plans to enroll in a HCC curriculum program in the near future, where she hopes to earn a degree so she can work with children with disabilities. Her motivation stems from a sense of gratitude. “Life has been so good to me and given me so much,” she explains, “that I feel the obligation to give something back.”

For more information about HCC’s ESL Program, please call 828-565-4181.