State Rep. Mark Ouimet visited adult education programs in Ann Arbor this month, attending both a GED class at Mallets Creek Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library and also an English as a Second Language class at Stone School.
He said it was a particular treat to visit Stone, where the ESL adult program is based. “Both of my kids went to school here,” he said. The class he visited was a middle-level adult ESL class, where students have progressed in their speaking and understanding of the English language.
Students taking classes this term hail from a wide variety of areas of the world including China, Korea, Italy, South America and Central America, Taiwan, the Middle East, Japan, Mexico and Turkey, among others.
View a video of Ouimet’s visit here:
Ouimet told students worked as a bank teller, eventually moving into the political arena to serve on the Ann Arbor City Council and the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners before being elected to the state House of Representatives.
“I’ve been involved in Politics on and off my whole life. It’s something my family’s always looked at in terms of participating in the community… we always felt was very important,” he told students. “My grandfather was member of the county commission and my father served on the city council.”
He also served as the chancellor of Northwood University in Midland, where he said there was a large international community of students.
Sharman Spieser, adult education director, said she appreciated Ouimet’s visit to the Adult Ed program and his willingness to learn about the educational needs of the Ann Arbor community.
“It is important to look at education of the whole person,” she said. “We need to support learning from infancy through adulthood, pre-school through post secondary and beyond, if we are going to have thriving communities where everyone contributes.”
Students all researched the state legislature and state government before Ouimet’s visit and were able to ask him questions.
About 75 percent of the ELS class work in the community or have spouses working here, said ESL teacher Odette Petrini. Many also have children in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.
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