BCCC’s English Language Services & Basic Skills programs meet students where they are, providing support, instruction, and mentoring to propel students to the next stage of their educational pathway. We are very proud of the success of our students, whether it is through increasing their English proficiency, obtaining U.S. Citizenship, or transitioning into career training. We are very happy to share their stories with you.
Alhassane Diallo, a native of Guinea, West Africa, came to Baltimore in October 2014. Years before, when he was a small child growing up in a remote village nine hours from the national capital, Jennifer Astone, an American visiting researcher, got to know him and recognized his potential. Alhassane contacted her after obtaining his visa for the U.S. She was instrumental in his getting a green card. Although Jennifer welcomed him to move to California where she lives, he opted for Baltimore instead because he could move in with a cousin here, plus he was attracted to the sizeable African population in the Baltimore/Washington area. He remains in contact with his sponsor and her family.
In 2015, Alhassane began taking classes at BCCC in the Community ESL program where he advanced rapidly. He then completed three semesters of academic language study in the English Language Instruction (ELI) program. During this time, he maintained a nearly perfect attendance record and GPA. ELI instructor Monica Sweidel describes Alhassane as a courteous student who engaged actively in class and took initiative to learn, seeking clarification as needed, often after reflecting on a lesson. “Alhassane was one of the most diligent, hardest working students I have had in my 40 years of teaching experience,” Monica explained, “he always asked questions that showed he was constantly working on his English skills, inside and outside of the class. He was working full-time, but he always did his classwork and homework with his full effort. He really impressed me with his work ethic and was a positive influence on the rest of the students.”
Now completing English 101 and Math 92 classes this semester while working at a prestigious local restaurant, Alhassane plans to major in Business Administration at BCCC. About his ELI preparation he says, “I started realizing what my ELI instructors did for us when I came to ENG 101 which is only about essays….I see other classmates, Americans, struggling with certain things I already know.” After graduation he hopes to get a job with an international company that allows him to travel. Within a year, he looks forward to returning to his country to get married and bringing his wife to Baltimore.
Says Alhassane, “I’m very proud of coming to the U.S. I never thought I’d come.
There’s freedom here. You can achieve anything you want.”
Alhassane is the 2018 ESL Pathways Award recipient. He was recognized at the Annual BCCC Honors and Awards Banquet on May 23, which he attended with his instructor, Monica Sweidel. With characteristic grace, he thanks Monica