Learner Spotlight: Reflections 6th Edition Literary Magazine Highlights Student Authors

Learner Spotlight: Reflections 6th Edition Literary Magazine Highlights Student Authors

An expectant audience of Literacy Council adult learners, their families, event sponsors, volunteer tutors, staff and members of the Board of Directors came together for a Sixth Edition Book Launch event on February 22nd to celebrate the publication of the Literacy Council of Frederick County’s literary magazine, Reflections: Voices of English Learners. Sharon Jacko, Board President, gave an opening welcome, recognizing the achievement of our students. Co-editor of the magazine, Catherine Coundjeris shared the genesis of the magazine and interviewed the contributing authors who read their stories from the newest edition of Reflections.

Students introduced themselves and enthusiastically read their published work to the audience:

Silvia M. read from her Rotary Club speech, “From Literacy Council of Frederick County to Georgetown University Law School: My Linguistic and Legal Odyssey; Emmanuel B. read his story “Douala” sharing about his home city; Tetiana F. read her story “First Three Days” about her harrowing wartime experience; Natta S. read “Unspeakable” a story of remembrance about the birth of her child; Joselyne N. read “A Happy Moment in My Life” about the wonderful day of her wedding; Stephane M. read “A New Beginning: A New Life in the United States” about his reflections on living in the United States; Kaliopys C. read “A Gift for Life” sharing her mother’s golden advice; and Flor read “My Daughter’s Graduation from HeadStart” celebrating the momentous occasion of her daughter’s graduation. Each reader received a gift card to Curious Iguana and note from Marlene and Tom England, whose business has been a generous and regular sponsor over the years.

We were fortunate enough to meet at The Frederick News-Post for the second year in a row and shared light refreshments and beverages during a reception following the readings.  Some of the desserts where prepared by Jaycee Garcia. An immigrant to the United States herself, her business helps to support her son who suffers from a rare disease.

The students were filled with a sense of pride in their accomplishments and warmly voiced their approval of the evening:

Silvia said, Reflecting on the sixth edition of ‘Reflections: Voices of English Learners, I must say that each story shines on its own! The essays captivate the listeners. And while each essayist reads, we share stories from the bottom of our heart, weaving together a mix of emotions, yet at their core, they all share a profound sense of gratitude.  We are deeply thankful for the Literacy Council, for their dedicated tutors and for their support in guiding us toward the path of self-expression. Writing has given us the joy of knowing our stories will live on. That they will be remembered as memories we cherish, and that’s something truly special.

Kaliopys summed up her feelings about the classes, Your work is invaluable, because as mentioned today, you not only teach us, but transmits hope and love to us, and that Ms. Catherine is an invaluable gift.

Flor graciously said, I want to say thank you to my teacher Catherine for her dedication and patience with her students and all the people who have supported me and who make this volunteering possible to help many people. For me, it was something exciting to be able to read my story in front of my teacher and people who support us. It was very incredible to be able to share important stories about my family with which many identify especially when we go to a new country and want to learn the language. Everything is possible if you try hard, you will achieve your goals, thank you very much.

 Joselyne added, I enjoyed the ceremony so much. It was an opportunity to see my teacher, my classmates face to face for the first time and their families. It was also so nice to see all the staff who organized that ceremony and I thank them. Thank you again.

Stephane was very happy about everyone’s interactions during the evening, I really like this moment of exchange which is a plus four our learning, understanding and allows us to express ourselves in public. This type of event must continue, to promote the values of the program of the Literary Council of Frederick. All the honor goes to the Literacy Council of Frederick County and its program, which allows us to improve ourselves, step by step.  Thank you again for the opportunity that was given yesterday.

Natta shared, It was a wonderful evening!  As a February thunderstorm was raging outside, we sat in a very warm and friendly atmosphere in the Frederick News Post Building. Students of the Literacy Council read their personal stories.  The stories were all different, but all interesting and honest. We discussed how we started writing, how the Literacy Council helped us to start. We gave advices to the beginners and even to the tutors! All readers received very nice presents, which also let us to continue our education. Thank you, the Literacy Council for constant support and chance to achieve our goals and dreams!

 Many thanks to our sponsors:  Lapera-Holler Team of Real Estate Teams, LLC; Marlene and Tom England from Curious Iguana; Patriot Federal Credit Union; and Jane and John Ketchem for their generous support.  We are in deep gratitude to Betsy Maymon for her amazing artistry as volunteer graphic artist for the magazine. And a tremendous thank you to co-editor Catherine Coundjeris, volunteer Writing Classes instructor and ESL Coordinator, for your vision and leadership in inspiring and supporting our students!

Printing and publication services were provided by Strategic Factory.

Everyone is invited to read all six editions now available in digital copies on our dedicated Reflections page on our website!