According to Data USA, 19.1% of Duplin County’s population are non-English speakers.
Director of Basic Skills, Keisha Jennette, said that’s why James Sprunt Community College in Kenansville offers free English classes as a second language or ESL classes for adults.
“So we work with them on grammar, writing, speaking, just everyday life skills,” Jennette said.
The classes teach students how to communicate with doctors, how to fill out job applications, along with helping parents better assist their children with school work.
“It gives them a place where they can come and learn in a safe environment to learn their English skills,” Jennette said.
ESL instructor, David Carr, said although learning a new language can be difficult, he encourages his students to not only speak English in the classroom but also in their every day lives.
At the same time, it’s the little English that you learn every day that will go a long way,” Carr said.
Dilver Eliam Jimenez Reyes is from Honduras. He has been taking the ESL classes at James Sprunt for about a month and has already used what he has learned in real life situations.
“Not a lot of people here speak Spanish, that’s why it costs me a lot to communicate with another person,” Jimenez said. “But now that I kind of know English, they understand some words that I say in Spanish and other words in English, that way they start understanding me.”
The classes are not limited to Spanish speakers.
“It’s not just Hispanic students,” Jennette said. “Anybody who has English as their second language, the classes are built for them.”
Classes are held Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday nights. Those interested can find the schedule on the campus website.