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GPTC’s English as a Second Language program honored by Emory
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Pictured from left, Johannes Kliner director of SHINE with Judieth Williamson, GPTC ESL night instructor and Melanie Armstrong, GPTC ESL night supervisor. - photo by Submited Photo

DeKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Georgia Piedmont Technical College recently received special recognition for its English as a Second Language program from Emory University’s Civic and Community Engagement department.  As part of its end-of-year celebration, Emory officials honored GPTC’s ESL program with its Annual Community Partner Award.

Emory chose to recognize GPTC’s ESL program because of a partnership that exists between the two institutions. Through the partnership, Emory students, known as SHINE volunteers, have an opportunity to assist GPTC’s ESL teachers with group activities as well as one-on-one instruction.  According to its website, SHINE (Students Helping in Naturalization and English) is a program that enables students to volunteer their time and talents with refugees and immigrants who are learning English.   

“Georgia Piedmont’s partnership with Emory University, through Project SHINE, is longstanding and rewarding,” said Dr. Jackie Echols, vice president of adult education at GPTC.  “For a decade, student volunteers from Emory have helped our English language learners increase their understanding of the English language.  The length of time Project SHINE has been in existence speaks to its success, as well as its importance to Georgia Piedmont’s ESL program,” she continued.  “Our teachers appreciate the extra help, and I think ESL students and volunteers alike enjoy the opportunity to learn from each other.  We greatly appreciate being recognized with this Annual Community Partner Award, and we look forward to continuing this partnership,” Dr. Echols concluded. 

Project SHINE volunteers serve as tutors, or teachers’ assistants, in English as a Second Language classes, citizenship preparation classes, and after-school programs.  They typically volunteer two hours each week for an entire semester. 

GPTC offers free ESL classes, as well as English Language Civics classes, to help prepare students for the U.S. Citizenship test. 

Day and evening classes are available, and the college provides offerings for pre-literate learners, as well as those with a more advanced understanding of the English language.  For more information about the ESL program, please contact