Learner Spotlight: 2023 Celebration of Achievements Spotlights Learners, Volunteers and Community

Learner Spotlight: 2023 Celebration of Achievements Spotlights Learners, Volunteers and Community

The Literacy Council held its 9th Celebration of Achievements event on November 2nd at the Delaplaine Arts Center, a joyful occasion recognizing our adult learners who completed classes and accomplished milestone achievements this past year.  Hosted by the Board of Directors, the evening was enjoyed by students and their families, volunteer tutors and class instructors, and guests who were present to pay tribute.  Sharon Jacko, Board President and Master of Ceremonies, opened the evening with a warm welcome, recognizing event sponsor:  Patriot Federal Credit Union, as well as 2023 sponsors from earlier in the year.  Sharon reflected on the organization’s sixty years of program impact and anniversary highlights, captured on this timeline and and 60th Anniversary Slideshow narrated by long-time volunteer Caroline Gaver.

The new mission and vision  developed as part of strategic planning in 2022 focus on how literacy lifts lives by providing Frederick County adults with pathways to essential literacy skills through collective community impact. These themes were evidenced throughout the evening through the Literacy Council’s four pillar programs: Community Classes, Parent Literacy, Tutoring, and Workplace Literacy.

Student Recognizes Her Tutor for Dedicated Service

Guest speaker Martha Ruiz, former Literacy Council student, described how Literacy Council volunteer tutor Gene Beall helped Martha and her husband gain English language and everyday life skills, on their journey to become part of the Frederick County community.  Gene passed away a year ago, and it was his legacy as a tutor that motivated his daughter, Cyndi McNamara, to volunteer with the Literacy Council in his memory.  Cyndi introduced Martha, describing the many years of friendship that developed between their families.  Martha talked about Gene’s bag that he would bring to each weekly tutoring session, full of materials to help Martha and her husband while learning English, including resources to learn how to navigate applying for jobs, a mortgage, purchasing a car, and seeking higher education opportunities, among many others.  Over the years of their work together, as his bag became lighter, her bag became “fuller” as she gained skills that she gives back to the community through her work at Family Partnership as an interpreter and teacher, and as a volunteer.

Learners Receive Recognition

Highlights of the event also included the recognition of the adult learners present by awarding special certificates of recognition for their many achievements. Examples included: getting a new job, a driver’s license, advancing in a curriculum series, passing a standardized test, graduating from the tutoring program to attend Frederick Community College, and becoming a U.S. citizen.  Volunteer Coordinators Holly Bohman, Lynn Bruton, Alix Cooney, and Catherine Coundjeris presented Certificates of Achievement, and also recognized the tutors and class instructors who were present for their service helping their students.  Ana, who attends the Parent Literacy Program’s English classes at a local elementary school, shared her story in Our Literacy Journey with LCFC – Ana and Family.

Ana, Berluys, Dora, and Mercedes were recognized at the end of the evening and presented with bouquets of flowers in tribute to receiving their U.S. citizenship, along with their tutors Janet, Carolyn, Hilary, and Samantha who helped them to achieve this big milestone.

Local Business & Industry Partner in Literacy Award Announced

This year’s recipient of the Literacy Council’s Business and Industry Partners in Literacy Award was announced, George B. Delaplaine, Jr., a community and philanthropic business leader who has given back to the Frederick Community through a lifetime of service.  Board President Sharon Jacko and Executive Director Laurie Fisher, presented George with a framed certificate at his office at the Delaplaine Foundation following the event, honoring his support for literacy programs and as a long-time friend of the Literacy Council.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the evening!! Congratulations to our students for  your incredible accomplishments.  The Literacy Council extends many thanks to Shira Kundinger for conducting interviews with our students and tutors and creating a heartfelt video testimonial of our students’ literary journey. We are also grateful to Lawrence Hunter for contributing his time and talent as our event photographer!