They speak many different first languages and come from many different countries — from Cambodia to Congo.
But they’ve all been working to learn a common language — English — and on Thursday, English as a second language students received certificates and honors at a lunch event at Bright Side Baptist Opportunties Center on Hershey Avenue.
Their English and citizenship classes through Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13, with the support of the Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon, are held at Bright Side.
Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace told the students, some of whom will continue with language classes and others who will start studying for their citizenship exams, that they are becoming a part of Lancaster’s reknown as a welcoming city for refugees.
“Part of your responsibility,” Sorace told the group, “is to extend welcome to those who come after you.”
“We say thank you so much to spend your time to teach us, refugees from other countries,” second-level certificate recipient Charles Masoka Kasunga, of Congo, told the ESL teachers on behalf of all the students.
Many of the students will go on to more English language classes, along with study that will help them pass their citizenship exams.