High Schoolers Teach ESL Kids


Students from the ESL program headed by junior Elijah Wilcox stand smiling at their final meeting on Friday, May 21, complete with pinatas for their fiesta. From left to right are juniors Kate Adams, Arlo Follet, Elijah Wilcox, senior Hannah Rhude, junior Gwen Ramsey, senior Cassidy Gillis, 8th grader Kyndra Johnson, and sophomores Lane Baker and Amy Adams.

Jasper Coen

Learning new languages is difficult. From pronunciation to grammar, there’s a lot you need to figure out. English, in particular, can be a difficult language to learn. From phonetic inconsistencies to our strange punctuation system, learning English is no small feat. Because of this, sometimes help is necessary. That’s where Elijah Wilcox’s English Second Language program comes in.

This new program is designed to provide opportunities for young elementary school students to whom English is not a first language. More specifically, it is designed for Latino children in the community who need extra help with writing or mathematics. The program’s main goal is to provide resources and additional support to these children so they can be set up for success in the future.

The program has been running since the first Friday of April. The group meets up every Friday. With eight students currently enrolled, the program is nothing if not successful in living up to its mission statement. While the students are at the program, they’ll get help in going through their textbooks. This includes work on learning fractions and decimals, alongside grammar and verbalization.

It cannot be overstated how helpful of a service teaching these kids grammar, pronunciation, fractions, and decimals will be. By putting the effort in now and helping out these kids, Wilcox and his group ensure that these kids will soon be able to become tighter knit with, and more engaged members of our community.

The kids in the program generally range in age from six to ten years old (or about from kindergarten through fifth grade). Coming from Mexico and Honduras, these kids are “outgoing and make teaching easy,” said Wilcox. The students are hardworking, and committed to their lessons, as well as simply the idea of improving in these fields.

According to Wilcox, though the program has only been around for a short time, it’s already made a big impact on the kids. The help being provided is an invaluable tool and resource for young learners in the community. And, although with the summer rapidly approaching, the program will shut down soon, it promises to start back up right where it left off next school year.

This program provides important resources to the children of Chaffee County, for whom, English is not a first language. Getting used to a new language can take lots of time, but this program promises to make that process quicker by a large margin. By providing help to these students the program not only does a favor for them, but the community as a whole.

One of the participants from the ESL program poses with the pinata on his head after collecting candy from it at the final fiesta of the program.