English-learning students celebrate graduation from Merced CBET program

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A group of adult students will be recognized for completing a program aimed at helping them and their kids learn English. They will receive their awards at the MCSD Family Center in Merced. (KFSN)

A group of adult students will be recognized for completing a program aimed at helping them and their kids learn English. They will receive their awards at the MCSD Family Center in Merced.

These students are breaking barriers as they're now one step closer to becoming the teacher. Maria Govea has been part of the community-based English tutoring program in Merced for years.

She says she didn't have a problem understanding the language but joined the program because writing in English was a different story.

"When you speak, it's nothing," she said. "And when you write, it's something else. It was very hard for me."

The CBET program helps students like Maria learn to speak and write English. It's a partnership between the Merced City School District and the Merced Union High School District. The adult students are also learning to type on a keyboard, write emails, and work on Google apps.

"They can go according to their pace, according to their speed of hot," CBET Instructor Tzeng Saechao explained. "They learn and at the same time. Their's no pressure on the student."

The parents in the program get English lessons for free, but there's one condition: they have to tutor their own kids and show proof.

School officials say students with parents in the program are improving in the classroom. Govea says she can now help her daughter with school projects - something she wasn't able to do before.

"My daughter is proud of me because I'm giving her an example," Govea explained.

Govea and a group of other students will be recognized for completing this year's program on Thursday - all leaving with a new set of skills they will take from the classroom to the real world.

"When you the change in some, change in their life, you see it was worth your time, and worth your effort," Saechao exclaimed. "It makes you want to come to work every day."

The program finished up with 28 students, and they hope to have just as many when the program starts back up in August.
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