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Virginia Poe

Description: Musical introduction with Students Succeed logo. Virginia is shown walking down the corridor of an office, carrying some files. She is wearing beige slacks and a pink sweater with a pearl necklace. She is a small Asian woman with dark hair and dark eyes. She smiles as she enters her office and begins work on her computer.

Narrator: Virginia Poe came to America in 1982 with limited English skills and limited confidence in her ability to find a job or cope with a strange new culture. Thanks to adult education she now has confidence in her English skills and a successful career as a Supervising Child Support Officer with the county of Los Angeles.  

Description: Her interview takes place in front of a bank of computers. An old photo is shown of her at a much younger age.

Virginia: I came to this country in March of 1982. I had to go through the customs at airport and the officer asked my some questions. I looked at him and then he said, "Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah…" (laughing) The only word I could understand was "food", so I just shook my head. So, he let me go. I went to the supermarket to get something, but the check was temporary check, so the clerk just tore it up and I didn't know how to argue in English. I just left, so I think that's why I want to learn English so I can at least communicate with people in this country.

Description: Phyllis is an older woman also sitting in front of a bank of computers. She has blond hair and is wearing a red jacket and a black rose print blouse. She is also wearing eyeglasses. Additional video of Phyllis in her office is shown.

Phyllis Butland, Teacher: Virginia was in a group class with probably about Level Four, Level Five, Intermediate because her reading and writing skills were excellent. She had studied a lot in Taiwan. But she was not able to understand what she was listening to, so we focused a lot on listening and speaking, conversation. What makes her stand out is her talents, her discovery of those talents; she's very, very capable.

Description: Interview continues. Video of Phyllis working in her classroom with students is shown. There is a shot of Virginia's name plate at work.

Virginia: Phyllis is a very creative, professional teacher. She cares about her students and then she builds up her students' self-confidence. Without her encouragement I wouldn't be able to become an independent person. I would not have been able to find a job. She had taught us a lot; to introduce us to the American culture.

Description: Phyllis's interview continues. An eighth grade certificate from Montebello Unified School District for Virginia is shown followed by a shot of her Certificate of Attendance from Bella Vista Adult Center. Phyllis speaks proudly about Virginia's accomplishment.

Phyllis: At the time Virginia was studying, we had a bank operating in our classroom and students would take turns being the teller and waiting on customers in English. And they would make deposit and then cash in their money for field trips. I prefer being able to find out from students what they need, and troubleshooting, and trying to help them get out there and take on the world. I think the adult ed class helped her mainly to realize her talents, and it encouraged her to try to keep moving along and keep improving. I know she's a person who's very committed to education so I think she's probably still studying now, trying to perfect her English. To see how far Virginia has gone and she's a young woman still, she's got farther to go and I trust that she will. And to see that, it gives me some fulfillment to see that we can go to the top.

Description: Sharon is smiling and happy when she speaks about her adult school students. She is wearing a black suit. She has dark hair and blue eyes.

Sharon Brannon, Principal:  Nothing thrills me more that to see the successes our ESL students are making. Through the hard work of our teachers and the hard work of their students, we have done some marvelous things.

Description: Virginia's interview continues and concludes.

Virginia: I would like to tell other adults to take advantage of adult education opportunities. Just keep going, keep learning, and think positive, and not give up.