When Bonifacio “Boni” Jiminez describes the positive changes he’s experienced in the last two years, he talks about them in English, a language he couldn’t speak in 2012.
Although the English as a Second Language (ESL) Lab has been at South Bryant Campus (SBC) for many years - offering ESL classes and GED instruction – it was recently renovated to offer new GED software, new computers, new ESL software and updated furniture. ESL classes are offered throughout Oklahoma City, but Metro Tech is the only computer-based course that allows students to work at their own pace and keeps bilingual instructors staffed to answer questions.
Boni, now 24-years old, grew up in a small Mexican village speaking only the native language. He moved to Oklahoma to be with his brother in 2012, started learning Spanish and worked in a restaurant, where the language barrier created frustration. When he heard about the Metro Tech ESL course on the radio, he enrolled, and spent the next six months completing all five levels of Rosetta Stone. According to Lilia Concannon, ESL Adjust Instructor, Boni’s progress was stunning.
“He scored extremely high on both the ESL Compass and Compass test required for admission, and then dedicated hours, weeks and months to learning English. He came early, stayed late, and when he finished all the programs, he asked what else he could learn. He always had one goal in mind, to study more to learn a trade that would afford him a better life. Boni’s positive, can-do spirit is making that dream come true for him,” she said.
In September of 2014, Boni enrolled in the Electrical Technology Program and continues to excel. He plans to continue his education in business management and one day own a business. Speaking two languages has created more opportunities for him, especially at the restaurant he has worked in for four years.