The Illinois State Library is profiling this year’s winners of Spotlight on Achievement awards for outstanding literacy students. This week they honor Patricia Arvizu-Rico, a student at DeLaSalle/Tolton Center in Chicago.
Three years ago Patricia spoke almost no English. She was a single mother from Mexico with two young children. Patricia knew that to improve her life, to be able to communicate with others, and to be able to help her children, she needed to learn English. She began studying at Tolton Center.
Patricia’s days are long. First she gets her oldest son off to school, and then she and her younger son walk one mile to Tolton Center. Her son attends an early childhood education program at Tolton while she attends class. Her studies are paying off. Patricia’s oldest son was born with an ear problem that required surgeries. At first, Patricia had to bring an interpreter with her to the medical appointments.
The last time she took her son to the hospital, she did not need an interpreter because she could understand what the doctor was telling her. Her self-assurance has increased so much that she spoke at a Tolton Center fundraiser in front of 200 English-speaking people.