While the event was an acknowledgment of the dedication of these tutor/student pairs and a forum to recognize some special accomplishments, it was also a smorgasbord of delicious foods from around the world. Each guest brought a traditional dish from his or her native country to share. Foods from many countries around the world made for a delicious lunch. (To see more photographs, please visit our Facebook page!) As we enjoyed this global buffet, Executive Director Linda Grosse shared the accomplishments of so many individuals with the group, including recognition from State Senator Andrew Dinniman.
Congratulations go out to those we honored at this year’s reception:
- Our newest citizens, Jihong Korbonits, Ramez Madanat, Josefa Cordero, and Urmi Patel.
- Office volunteer Christian Mota
- Speaker’s Bureau member and student, Gustavo Castro
- The students whose work was printed in the past year: Sonia Afroz (student of Eileen Kennedy); Usha Barkley (student of Laura Gruen); Li Ling Du (student of Elsie Reinmenschneider); Jihong Korbonits (student of Joyce Hurt); Fang Liu (student of Mary Kreutzberger); Pedro Lopez (student of Patty Morgioni)
- The tutors who have written for our blog this year! (prior to the reception) — Brett Swailes, Pam McGilliam, Ron Hovis
- A very special thanks and best-wishes were extended to Linda Grosse, who is retiring from VEP after 12 years as Executive Director. Board member Paul Keogan honored Linda, presented citations from State Senator Dinniman and County Commissioner Kathy Cozzone, and spoke of Linda’s undying dedication and tending of VEP to grow it to its current scope and size.
After the recognition segment, this year’s student speaker, Xiaopeng “Jessica” Ji, spoke to the group about her personal journey with her tutor, Kate Varley. Jessica’s impressive account of her challenges and experiences learning English with VEP, just one example of the many VEP success stories, was filled with humor, insight, frustration, but ultimately: accomplishment!
Thank you so much to all of the attendees who made this a special day for VEP. We hope to see you all again at next year’s reception. Who knows what amazing accomplishments we will all have to share.by Patricia Morgioni, Program Coordinator