Rosario Hernández, passing it forward …
When she was 10 years old, life was hard for Rosario Hernández. School was a struggle, since she knew little English. Her mother was working two jobs, so after school Rosario had to hurry home to care for her one-year old sister.
As she played with the toddler, she wished that she could help her little sister learn the English alphabet and the numbers, so she would have an easier time when she started school. But Rosario was struggling herself with the English sounds of the alphabet.
Her mother was also concerned about Rosario ́s schooling and they came up with a solution. A neighbor was willing to care for Rosario ́s sister for two hours each afternoon, so Rosario would be able to walk to ACLAMO. There she met teacher Marla Benssy and things began to improve.“ Mrs. Benssy was so patient and kind,” Rosario recalls. “She worked hard with me –and I worked hard too. I learned the sounds of letters in the English alphabet and started to read easy words.”
After just a year, Rosario ́s family moved to another apartment, too far from ACLAMO for her classes to continue. But Rosario had gained the encouragement and momentum she needed and she took it from there. She began writing a journal–which she still keeps up–and enjoys both English and Spanish classes.
She is a senior in the Norristown Area School District and is applying to start at Penn State in the fall of 2014. As part of a senior year service project, Rosario returns to ACLAMO four days a week to help with the After School Tutoring Program. And to top it off, Rosario is now able to help her sister, who is in the fourth grade and doing very well–just like her big sister!