By DAVID SWEARINGEN
ERATH COUNTY (January 4, 2017) – English as a Second Language (ESL) classes continue at First Baptist Church, and Stephenville’s very own, LaNiece Fredell, who graduated from Stephenville High School in 1952, is one of several volunteers who help keep the program going.
When Fredell graduated high school, she was awarded a grant from the ladies at First Baptist Church of Stephenville to attend the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Upon graduation from university, she spent the next two decades working in 42 different countries teaching school and doing mission work. Fredell said she’s always this type of work very rewarding, adding that she was proud she was able to enhance so many lives while traveling to so many different countries. Fredell returned to her hometown of Stephenville in 1980.
Today, Fredell oversees the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at the First Baptist Church (FBC) of Stephenville. A program that currently has a student enrollment of 125 students (young and old) but average attendance is about 65-80 students. Countries that are currently represented by this year’s students are: Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Kosovo, Nepal, India, China, South Korea and West Africa. Although, in the past five years, 33 different countries have been represented including Germany, Chile, Russia, Ghana, Pakistan, Iran, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam, Malaysia, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, Poland and Thailand.
The classes meet on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the First Baptist Church. The classes are made available from September through May, with a total of 30 classes for a total of 60 hours of instruction available to the students and it is all free of charge. Students are encouraged to arrive early so they can enjoy a light supper provided by the FBC Bible Study Classes as well as some of the other church members. Childcare is provided as well. These classes are made possible by the generosity of the numerous teachers and others that volunteer their time to make this program a success.
Some of the classes that are offered are: 1) Workplace English, 2) Beginning English, 3) Understanding/Speaking, 4) Using Conversation, 5) Talking/Reading/Writing, 6) Cultural, and 7) Preparation for Citizenship. Other subjects and areas are also covered.
“Our goal is to encourage people far from home to understand our language, culture, and religion,” said Fredell in a release. “We pray they will come to love our Lord and His Church. Hopefully, they will remember us fondly as friends.”
To learn more about the ESL program at First Baptist Church of Stephenville and how you can volunteer your time or if you are interested in attending classes, contact LaNiece Fredell at 254-968-6711 or Diane Brooks at 254-965-3187.