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CRC English Class: Giving Back to the Community

On Wednesday nights at Whitworth's Costa Rica Center, you'll find the place abuzz with conversations, laughter, and even English prepositions. That's because on Wednesday nights for the last two years the CRC has been offering free English classes to the community.  

"Students do most of the teaching, even during the summer term," CRC Director Lindy Scott says. "This year the task of administration, organization, and lesson planning has fallen to writing major Cameron Parker." 

"I plan, oversee and carry out educational activities once a week for two hours," Cameron says. "These classes are offered to members of the community who are interested in learning English. We have about 15 students come to class each week whose ages range from 6 to 60. Our focus on Wednesday nights is on engaging and informative programs rather than a structured curriculum.  I think my favorite lesson was Halloween game day: we did some zombie trivia and played a geography game in English. Then we went trick-or-treating on campus."  

English class has become so popular that there are now three groups: children, beginning adults, and advanced adults. Lindy pointed out that English class helps children in school and can open doors for them when they apply for jobs down the road. Furthermore, it helps adults in business and adds to their employability. 

"There are two dominant social groups in English class," Cameron explains: "the poor neighbors who tend to be unemployed and the very well off families." Whatever age or social group the community is from, English class can offer something for them.  

"It's also a great way for the center to give back to the community," Cameron points out. "The CRC is in a secluded area, so class is a way for the community to come up and get to know us."

"Since our clientele is primarily Whitworth students, we can be perceived as isolated and elitist," Scott adds. "This is a chance for our neighbors to get to know us; it gets us past our own pine cone curtain, so to speak." 

Sarah Jaymes Kenney