ESL on the South Fork

A group of students taking a class at Aprendiendo Inglés Ahora E.S.L. (Photo by Jackie Pape via The East Hampton Star)

Three years after they were first introduced, English language classes for adults being offered in Wainscott on the South Fork of Long Island are now drawing about 100 students each week, writes Jackie Pape in The East Hampton Star.

Cheerful as they wait in line to be checked in to Aprendiendo Inglés Ahora E.S.L. classes, men and women with pencils and notebooks in hand, kiss hello before being directed to their level-appropriate classrooms. Five levels of English are taught by 14 teachers.

Louise Bergerson, an Amagansett resident who retired in 2014 from a 35-year career as a middle and high school science teacher, department head, and eventually the academic dean at a private school in Manhattan, a director of the program, had committed herself to teaching English on the East End. She teaches level 1 (the second level after basic).

Held in the Wainscott building that houses the Living Water Christian Gospel Church and the Vida Abundante Christian Church, the classes are the brainchild of Ecuador-born Adriana Leon, and Bergerson. Leon once took English classes in Riverhead, but the commute was long. She and Bergerson, for whom Leon has worked for 15 years, had often discussed the need for English instruction in the community.

“It’s so important because if we live in this country, and we work in this country, and we have kids going to school and everything, we should be able to communicate,” Ms. Leon said. “If we decide to live here, we have to learn the language.”

Go to The East Hampton Star to find out how the classes started, and what one volunteer instructor, younger than most of the students, has to say about the experience.

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