Alma Marquez (left) is pictured with her ESL Instructor, Jaudon Wilhite.
The Northeast Texas Community College Adult Education Department recently learned that ESL (English as a Second Language) student Alma Marquez received the Texas Association for Literacy and Adult Education (TALAE) ESL Persistence Adult Learner of the Year Award. This statewide award goes to a student who has demonstrated leadership among peers and overcomes difficult circumstances while pursuing adult learning. She was chosen from more than 40 nominations from across the state.
Marquez was invited to the TALAE 2019 state conference held in Houston this February and was presented her award on stage. She was nominated by her ESL instructor, Jaudon Wilhite. The honor came with a $500 prize.
“I believe Alma exemplifies the true essence of the word ‘persistence.’ She has many wonderful personal attributes, including a high moral compass and a kind and giving heart, but mostly, she has a strong will and desire to succeed in all of her endeavors,” Wilhite said in her nomination letter.
Marquez was born in Mexico into a large family of ten siblings. She graduated from high school in 1997 and moved to the United States in 1999 with her husband and young daughter. Her family moved to Northeast Texas, and her husband became a ranch manager, while Marquez cleaned houses. They later had two more daughters.
After her youngest daughter began school, Marquez started taking ESL classes through the NTCC Adult Education program to improve her English. She also helped her daughters focus on the importance of receiving an education.
“Alma is a true role model for a family, as well as all who are lucky to know her. She volunteers extensively and has been very active in her daughters’ school lives,” Wilhite said.
Marquez’s daughters exemplify her persistence in giving them a better life. The oldest daughter has graduated from high school, received her associate’s degree from NTCC and is working towards going back to earn her bachelor’s degree.
The family was the motivation behind Marquez deciding to pursue an ESL education.
“When my daughters were little, they asked me to help them and I could not. I knew then that I needed to find English classes to take,” she said. “I thank my whole family for this, but especially my husband. He has always wanted me to learn better English and made it possible for me to do so.”
NTCC Adult Education offers both ESL and GED classes for adults, like Alma, who are looking to continue their education. To learn more visit www.ntcc.edu/adulted call 903-434-8234.