A great pathway to education for all

The Adult Learning program provides various opportunities for all education-seeking adults


Dani Arellano

Beginning ESL instructor Victoria Bangs points to vocabulary of the week as students learn to differentiate personal pronouns. Bangs mentioned that her favorite part of teaching is watching students progress. “I got the chance to see one of my students arrive knowing close to nothing of English and now she takes classes at the college.”

Seward County Community College offers many degrees, certificates and programs where students are able to find opportunities to grow and succeed. The Adult Learning program at Epworth Adult Education Center is one of the many places that provide these opportunities to the students.

Located at 520 N. Washington St. in Liberal, the Adult Learning program provides an abundance of classes including GED, ESL, Work Readiness and Accelerated Opportunities. 

GED or otherwise known as general education development are classes given at the center either in English or Spanish. These classes are based on education courses that adults or students with special circumstances are able to take in order to obtain the equivalent of a high school diploma. 

English Second Language classes or ESL are available here at the center. With the objective of teaching the basics of English up to having students become fluent, ESL classes provide each individual with room to grow. 

Work Readiness classes are available with the intent to get students ready for future job employment opportunities. 

 The Adult Learning program also offers Accelerated Opportunities courses that are available for adults with the intent of obtaining a GED while also enrolling in one of six possible pathway opportunities. These pathway opportunities are Welding, Machining, CDL Truck Driving, Healthcare, EMT, or Process Technology. 

While these are just a few of the opportunities the Adult Learning program provides, both instructors and students are what makes this all a success. 

Victoria Bangs is one of the many instructors found at this center who teaches the Beginning ESL courses. Three times a day, four times a week, Bangs stands in her classroom teaching the basic grammar, principles and plurals of the English language to new students who have the will and drive to learn.

“The most beneficial thing about teaching is watching my students learn to communicate with other people … a lot of them come in barely understanding how to respond with their name. I enjoy seeing the progress from what they have learned [from what I know] and how they continue to use it,” Bangs mentioned with a grin as she gushed about her experiences during her teaching career.

Bangs went on to mention that as a former student herself, [initially from Hidalgo, Mexico]. She was grateful for the opportunities to take classes and eventually go on to study as an ESL teacher thanks to her instructors and support system around her. Bangs now takes what she has learned both education-wise and experience-wise to teach, one of those characteristics being patience.

Student Guadalupe Gonzalez sits during a work-day practicing her English skills with the use of audio on her tablet. (Dani Arellano)

One student, Guadalupe Gonzalez mentioned that her passion for learning combined with her families’ immense support allowed her to start taking courses at the center. Originally from Durango, Mexico, Gonzalez moved to the United States with somewhat of the idea of how to understand English. Her only setback was having the tiniest knowledge of how to communicate the English language back. At the time of her big move, her husband and his family were all key contributors to helping her gain the confidence to enroll. 

“I’d say I only knew a good 60 out of 100 percent of what people would say to me in English. As for talking back and keeping a conversation, that was what I struggled the most with. Thanks to all the courses I’ve been able to take I have gained a lot of confidence in my writing, reading and communication skills,” Gonzalez said

She continued to talk about the classes available, that she initially started out taking regular English, she was then able to start taking the Advanced ESL course given by instructor Anita

“I definitely recommend these courses. The courses help — the teachers are very helpful and the environment itself is very great,” Gonzalez said.

Josue Mendoza Perez sits debating with his classmate about whether a term was said correctly. (Dani Arellano)

Josue Mendoza Perez, from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, is another student that mentioned he had already taken some courses within the past seven months and he had decided to come back again to continue learning. 

Perez went on to mention that he finds himself benefiting from the class. Not only does he see it within himself but as well as in his classmates who all started with little to no idea of how to start learning. Now he has realized he has learned to communicate the basics thanks to these resources that SCCC provides.

“Don’t be scared to start because there will always be obstacles. We’ve seen a lot of people that don’t want to come because they are afraid to make mistakes … people need to realize that education is important,” Bangs said.  

SCCC offers the chance to learn English, receive a GED or prepare for future job opportunities, Seward has continued to provide opportunities to students that reflect their core values: trust, value for each other, quality and student success.