SPEAK Appreciation Lunch – June 3, 2016

2016-2017 Issue 1

IMG_3806On June 3, members of the MCLL community and the students in the Certificate of Proficiency in English – Language and Culture program gathered together for the annual SPEAK Appreciation luncheon. SPEAK pairs together MCLL members and IELC students to create connections and opportunities to practice English. The lunch was the culmination of the SPEAK program, where the partners celebrated their achievements and one another. Platters of food from around the world – Japanese rice, Korean pork, and French madeleines, to name just a few – filled the tables, and handcrafted origami were given as special gifts for the arriving MCLL members. Excited chatter quickly filled the room as partners reunited.

However, to both parties, it is so much more than just another way to practice English. Denise Lord, a former ESL teacher and a long-time SPEAK participant, said, “SPEAK is my favourite activity,” and cited the program as a mutual learning experience; “I learn from them, and they learn from me.”

Susan Biggs, another SPEAK partner, emphasized the strong relationship formed between MCLL participants and IELC students; “At this point in your life, it’s nice to give back. We learn too. Our students have given a lot to come here.” Lord agreed, stating, “It’s nice for [the students] to have an anchor, a lot are alone here. You become more than partners, you become friends.”

Diane Normandin, an IELC student, feels that the people are part of what makes SPEAK so unique; “I enjoy [the program] because it’s so different. I learn English but also about different people around the world.”

Guests were treated to a special treat – Curie Kim, after her performance in McGill’s Got Talent, was asked to come blow the audience away once again. Kim sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” a perfect song for the party atmosphere. The lunch’s final celebratory act was the cutting of the cake, with MCLL members and IELC students all happily accepting a slice.

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