Asian American Civic Association celebrates graduation for advanced English levels

By Richard Goldberg

AACA’s Next Steps Transitional English program celebrated graduation April 13 at Tufts University with students, staff and some of the program’s college partners. (Image courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong.)

More than 70 students, staff and invited guests attended the graduation ceremony of Asian American Civic Association’s (AACA) Next Steps Transitional English Program (Next STEP) on April 14 at Tufts Medical School’s Jaharis Family Center for Biomedical and Nutrition Sciences.

Among the guests were representatives of Bunker Hill Community College, Roxbury Community College and the American Student Assistance College Planning Center, all of which have partnered with Next STEP for several years.

Bunker Hill president Pam Eddinger urged the graduates to “Seize the moment.  Remember how important education is for your success and for the success of your family.”

Eddinger, who came to the United States when she was 11 from Hong Kong, told her story about growing up as the child of immigrants in Miami and how she wished that an organization such as AACA could have been there to help her family adjust to life in a new country.

Seven members of the graduating class plan to enroll at Bunker Hill in September. Four others are planning to enroll at Quincy College, and one is undecided.

Next STEP, which is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, has prepared immigrant adult students for college, job training and higher levels of employment since 1993.  For the past four years, the program has sent the largest numbers of adults to college among 82 community-based DESE-funded programs.

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