MOLINE, Ill. — On Thursday, Black Hawk College students, staff and families gathered at the Vibrant Arena at the MARK for a day of celebration.
The school hosted their ESL graduation for their English as a Second Language students.
ESL professor Lisa Miotto says she's proud of all of her students for the work they did to make it this far.
"So many of them have faced many challenges and overcame those challenges to be here," Miotto said. "They are now ready to go on to college level classes like English 101 and I couldn't be any more proud than I am."
Around 40 students graduated from the school's ESL program. Daniela Flores, who arrived in the US 18 years ago from Peru, says this program has helped her tremendously.
"I'm very content and happy to be able to achieve this goal," Flores said. "When I got here, I felt the necessity to be able to talk to people and that's when I made it my primary goal to learn the language."
Lynda Gessica Santana, an ESL student from Brazil, says the ESL program has helped her gain confidence.
"This is my dream coming true," Santana said. "When I came to the US for the first time, I didn't know any English but now I have so much confidence to be able to speak and carry a conversation."
With her new skills, Flores says she hopes to make an impact in her communities.
"I currently work for an organization that helps immigrants and refugees in the Quad Cities. I am ready to continue my work and I encourage others to take the opportunity to learn a new language" Flores said.