Wednesday, November 14, 2018

SMAS Student's Daughter Describes the Value of "Pay It Forward"

Akane Furukawa is an ESL student in Teacher Lisa Sparks' class.  Her daughter, Aoba Furukawa, is a student at Mills High School.  Aoba writes about the value of volunteering in this wonderful essay which she shares with us here.  Be inspired!

“Pay It Forward”-Volunteering camp
By Aoba Furukawa

Volunteering camp which I had in San Francisco was very inspiring, and it was a great experience. Before this camp, I didn’t really know how to help homeless people, and I didn’t know that even teens can help thousands of people. This camp was not only important for people who needed the help, but it was also important for me too because I got to know the reality of life and how it feels to help other people in general.

On the first day, I went to Youngblood and Coleman Park in San Francisco. The park was filled with many children, and it was very chill. I thought that the park was pretty clean. We took the gloves, tongs, buckets, and worked as a group. When I started, I only found food garbage, and a bottle of caps. However, when I started cleaning up the playground, I saw used needles, and I realized that it was a very dangerous thing, because little kids might touch it, or accidentally step on it. So I learned how to pick up the needle, because picking up the needle was also dangerous, and was a great experience for me. After I did the best as I can, I got to pick up three giant buckets of garbage. We found used condoms, used needles, saddle, shoes, and others.

On the second day, I went to Stow Lake in San Francisco. The park ranger told us to trim the garden, and I was a little nervous, because I had never tried it before, and I needed to use the pruning shears. At first, it was difficult for me to cut the branch, and thought about how much I needed to use the pruning shears. At first, it was difficult for me to cut the branch, and thought about how much I needed to cut. However, it was really fun when I got used to it, and I even made new friends. I got to socialize with many people, so it was a good opportunity to meet with new people.

On Wednesday, I went to the San Francisco food bank and backed rice. We divided the work. My work was to close the rice bag using the iron, label it, and put it in the giant box. We had to do it very quickly, and it nneded team work. Of course, we made a few mistakes such as spilling out the rice or putting the wrong amount of rice. Fortunately, my group packed about one hundred packages, and in total people, and whole group packed about 3000 packages.  It was a really great experience because I realized that it was actually fun, and I want to do that again.
On Thursday, I went to a Glide to help the homeless people. I wiped the tables, put the spoons, napkins, cups each table. I didn’t know what foods would be really delicious. There was a lot of chicken, bread, carrots, coleslaw, Caesar salads, and fruit. Although I couldn’t make the food, I served the the carrots and it smelled really good. When people came in, it was very busy that I couldn’t keep up with the carrots in same amounts. However, we never stopped so it made really tired, but a lot of people came to Glide to eat, but many Chinese people came, and children also came to eat too.

On the last day, I went to Ocean Beach to clean up the beach. Unfortunately, it was very cold that I was freezing. However, I had to pick up the garbage, and I was really tired. I was looking for garbage, but the beach was very clean. All I found was snack garbage, and an Ipad case, so it was a very tough day for me. However, I earned certification for volunteer hours, so I was really proud of myself, and I was glad of what had done during the week.

This camp was truly amazing. Because we needed to work as the team, I made new friends, and we tried our best. I learned that not only homeless people need free food, but normal people are also in need. I learned so many things, and I hope I can help other people in the future again.

Thank you, Akane and Aobe, for inspiring us to volunteer!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Learner to Earner: Wendy Yeung

Wendy (on the left) smiling with SMAS classmates
while volunteering at the San Mateo Public Library
At San Mateo Adult School, students learn many skills to help them succeed.  Some students progress from the classroom to jobs.  They are learner to earner success stories.  

Wendy Yeung is one of these success stories.  She agreed to share her experience in order to help other students move forward toward their own goals.

Thank you, Wendy, for sharing your story! 

What is your name?  
Wendy Yeung

Where are you from - what country or part of the world?
I am from Hong Kong China. Hong Kong is in the south part of China and was a British colony for 100 years.

What classes did you take at San Mateo Adult School?  Who were your teachers?
I took Distance Learning class of teacher Cynthia, ESL Advanced Low Class of teacher Jessica, ESL Adv High Listen/speak Class of teacher Vasyl, ESL Advanced Writing class of teacher Lisa and Online class of teacher Carol.

What are your doing now - what is your job or volunteer work?
I am a multi-purpose clerk in Lucky Supermarket. I work in the Berkeley Deli Department. Although I have no experience on that before, but they give me a chance.
What helped you find this job or volunteer position?
My husband David inspired me to create my new life in America.  But no feedback from online job hunting. I went through a loss of confidence when i couldn't understand what other people were saying.

San Mateo Adult School opened a window for me to get to know American people and American culture. That is the first step for all new immigrant. so meaningful! The teachers of School let us study in English environment.

When I couldn't speak in English, my sister Jessica accompanied me to read aloud at home. When I was afraid to find a job in person, my friend Shirley encouraged me to go into the store to express myself. the most critical step is my families and friends' support.
I have to survive. I know deeply I want to live in a real life but not only American Dream.

What helped you the most at San Mateo Adult School?

The professional teachers at SMAS helped me the most.  Patricia Villar as a transition navigator said to me: You don't know what you can do, until you try.   Teacher Cynthia, Jessica  and Lisa taught me a lot of kinds of ways to learn English.   Teacher Vasyl told us more about American culture.

Do you have advice for other SMAS students - about learning English, looking for a job, taking risks, doing something new in the USA?  
New world, new life! That is what i think. I am not the best, but I will try my best.
And English Learning will stay with me for the rest of my life in America.

Thank you so much, Wendy, for sharing your experience.  Your advice is spot-on and will help many people.  Thank you!  

Sunday, October 14, 2018

2018-19 Student Council Board Member Simone Coelho's Forum Speech

Evening Student Council Board Member Simone Coelho shared this exellent speech at the 2018-19 Evening Candidate Forum.   Here, with her permission, is her speech:

Evening Student Council Board Member
Simone Coelho
Alt Text:  Smiling woman with
wavy brown hair and glasses
wearing a black jacket

Good Evening.

My name is Simone Coelho. I am running for president. I am here today requesting your vote to be the voice of each student here at San Mateo Adult School. I want to represent our school as well.

I am here today because I believe everybody deserves access to education and I stand for adult school.

I will be here to:

  • Listen to your concerns.
  • I will be bringing new ideas to our campus.
  • Be hard working when it comes to make things happen.
  • I will lead keeping in mind your interests.
  • And most of all, I am eager to make adult school even better.

Again, my name is Simone. I humbly ask this evening for your vote.

Together we can make great things happen.

Thank you for listening!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

2018-19 Evening Vice President Olivia Velasquez' Forum Speech

Evening Student Council Vice President Olivia Velazquez shared her story and this stellar speech at the 2018-19 Evening Candidate Forum.   Here, with her permission, is her wonderful speech.

Evening Student Council Vice President
Olivia Velasquez
Alt Text:  Smiling woman with short hair
in white blouse, black tie and vest.
Good evening, students and staff members.  My name is Olivia Velasquez and I'm running for student council vice president.  I'm from Guadelajara, Mexico.  I'm remember my first months here.  I was a low beginning ESL student when I started in this school.  Now I'm a high intermediate student.  I worked hard and I learned that nothing succeeds if there is no effort.  
It probably won't surprise you that I have decided to run for student council for the role of vice president.  As student council vice president, I will strive to continue making improvements in this school, with my colleagues, for the benefit of all.  I know that the student council works side-by-side with the student body and the administration.  Today I am asking for your vote.  Should you elect me, I will listen to your concerns and work hard for you.  Thank you.

Thank you, Olivia, for sharing your speech and for making the commitment to serve our community!

2018-19 Evening Student Council President Carlos Diaz' Forum Speech

Evening Student Council President Carlos Diaz shared his story and this fabulous speech at the 2018-19 Evening Candidate Forum.  The next day, he was elected Student Council President of the Evening Student Council.  Here, with his permission, is his wonderful speech.
Evening Student Council President
Carlos Diaz
Alt Text:  Smiling man with
short brown hair in jean jacket

Hello everyone!
My name is Carlos Diaz and I am running for student council President.
I'm from Mexico, more specifically a small town by the name of La Barca, located at the Southeast side of the state of Jalisco. I came to The USA 3 years ago, in August 2015.

I remember how difficult the beginning was, a different country, different people, new neighbors, new neighborhoods, the diversity of cultures and traditions, and the most remarkable thing: English as a new language.

Finding a new job is always a tough part of our lives, and that part increases when we don't know how to speak English, that's why I decided to start learning. Some of my friends told me about San Mateo Adult School, so I came to the Smart Center on 2016  and just signed up. I began at Low Beginning and since then have been studying at this school in the evening time. I am now in the High advanced level, still learning, improving my English and working on my skills.

I haven't run a campaign before. This is my first time running, trying to be the new president elect. I want to work hand-in-hand with all of the student council members; I want to work with all of you guys, listening to your suggestions, your ideas. I want to work not only as a president or member of the student council, I want to be your friend.

I really believe in the importance of adult education. I believe in people like you, like me. People who came from other countries in search of a better life and better opportunities. People have found here at San Mateo Adult School the opportunity to learn English, make and grow networks and be successful.

I want to continue with the legacy of my former colleagues who were presidents and members of the student council.

The promise I make to you is that I will do my best, being your voice, and being your representative, bringing the faith in every place and in every opportunity to talk about how important San Mateo Adult School is.

Please vote for me, Carlos Diaz, to be your Student Council President.

Thank you, Carlos, for sharing your speech and service!