Carlos Anibal Bautista is dedicated to learning English.
Before the pandemic, he would ride his bike for an hour to the BakerRipley East Aldine Campus for his ESL class. He would leave his house two hours before to make sure he was always on time.
“If you want to improve as a person you need to sacrifice,” said Carlos.
Once classes went online he continued to show his commitment, even as he battled COVID-19 himself.
Around June, Carlos tested positive for the coronavirus, and for two weeks he was vomiting, with a fever and a bad cough. Even then, he continued studying on his own and would text his teachers to let them know he would rejoin as soon as he could.
Finally, in the third week, he started recovering and went back to his online classes, working even harder to catch-up.
Starting from nothing
Back in Honduras, Carlos never finished elementary school. He faced a steep learning curve when he joined the classes in 2019. However, despite these barriers, his teachers were impressed with his progress.
“At first I was scared to go speak English, to make mistakes, but even if you start from nothing you have to try,” commented Carlos.
Carlos feared mispronouncing words and people making fun of him, but it was exactly the opposite. He was impressed with his teachers and their patience.
His teachers say he is usually the first to volunteer for any activities in class and happy to do group work with students at every level.
Currently, Carlos hosts a Christian radio show in Spanish and says learning English will allow him to improve his show and find new opportunities.
“If you’re bilingual you can be of use to the community, it’s truly a blessing” added Carlos,
Blessing for many people
Carlos is thankful his friend told him about the ESL program at BakerRipley. He appreciates the teacher’s dedication and that this resource is available for anyone in the community.
“It’s a blessing to have free classes in the community, you can have CD’s or books in your house but it’s not the same. When you have a teacher online or in front of you it’s very helpful, they engage with us and explain the process,” explained Carlos.
He’s seen firsthand how it helps immigrants and those who don’t have the means for a class.
“The folks that help fund these programs are a huge blessing for many people. A lot of them might not see it, but those of us who take the classes, who see the dedication of the teachers, know it’s a blessing for the community.”