New workshops to help ENL students with scholarship and college application essays

Fibi Kim, Foreign Language Reporter

SHS has many ENL students and their population increases each year causing SHS to give more attention to each and every one of them. Students get more help from their teachers in their classrooms and also on applying for scholarships for seniors, according to ENL teacher Mrs. Amy Peddie.

Peddie realized that ENL parents can’t help their kids like her parents used to help her with college applications and essays because of the English barrier. That’s when she came up with the idea for the fall break program.

For the first time at SHS, Peddie held an event for seniors called Scholarship Essay Writing Workshop during the second week of fall break. This two-day event is a scholarship writing workshop that focuses on the essays for the Lilly Scholarships, Gates Millenium Scholarships and Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), according to Peddie. This event is only for ENL seniors, according to Peddie. Peddie says she held this event because these scholarships’ due dates are in early January.

“This is the first time I have tried a writing workshop, so there may be more opportunities in the future,” Peddie said.

Peddie had been staying after school with seniors two to three times a week to help with scholarship and college applications.. She stays after school starting from early September on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Peddie also says that she will stay after school on Tuesdays when application deadlines are close. She knew this wasn’t enough time and wanted to give them a head start on the essays they needed to write for these scholarships .

Newcomer teacher Mrs. Marsha Manning developed the Newcomer Program in January 2009. Before she became EL program coordinator, she taught between SHS and PMHS and became the first EL teacher in the district in 1997. When the Newcomer Program started, it was at the Perry Township Education Center (PTEC), according to Manning. In SHS, she had many responsibilities beyond teaching in the Newcomer Program. Manning says her other responsibilities were to test students, communicate with teachers about adaptations, modifications for the EL population in their building and to support the EL tutor.

The focus of the Newcomer Program is to build English vocabulary in content areas and to give students practice using English in areas of conversation, writing, reading through listening exercises, according to Manning. Many newcomer students can’t do assignments because they don’t understand direction words,  Manning says, and the program gives them a safe environment.

“I love teaching students at this level. They come to my classroom eager to learn English because they know that they have been given another opportunity at life in the United States and in a U.S. school where the possibilities are unlimited,” Manning said.

Attending the Scholarship Essay Writing Workshop during fall break along with some other students helped her in a lot of ways, according to senior Nancy Hlawntin Sui. This event prepared her  more for college and helped her improve her writing skills, Sui says, and she stays after school with Peddie for applications and other college work.

According to Sui, writing essays for college is hard because they have to be formal and try their best to get the reader’s attention in order to be able to achieve and get scholarships. The way she feels about being a senior is unreal because it seems like she just started high school yesterday, and knowing that she is a senior now made her realize how blessed she is, Sui says.

“Being a senior means being a step closer to becoming more mature and getting ready to face the real world. So I hope that if we try our best we can accomplish the goal we have and step closer to success,” Sui said.

Being able to participate in the Scholarship Essay Writing Workshop helped her a lot with her college applications and scholarships as well, according to senior Doris Dong. Writing essays for scholarships is not hard but it’s complicated because scholarship applications are very similar to college applications, Dong says. To her, being a senior feels great and it’s an amazing experience, but there are still many things that overwhelm her, like keeping up with her AP classes while managing time for colleges and scholarships.

“This program provided many scholarship opportunities that I wasn’t aware of,” Sui said. “It also helped a lot with the essay part in the scholarships and colleges application.”