Sister Grace Escobar
They think they can’t do it. I’m here to say ‘Oh, yes you can!’”
Immigrants to this country may arrive with high school educations, but their diplomas are often not recognized in their new home cities. Without a high school diploma, they are shut out of most jobs that pay a living wage. In Chicago, the Dorothy Stang Popular Education Adult High School is the only bilingual high school for older Latinos in the Midwest. It is where our Sister Grace Escobar and other educators are making dreams come true.
“It is important for us to not just teach the children in our neighborhood and parish classrooms. We need to teach their parents as well,” Sister Grace explained. “Education is empowering for a family, for everyone. It can make all the difference.”
To be admitted to the school, students must have nine years of education in any country, basic English skills and be at least 25 years old. At the end of two semesters, graduates earn a state-certified high school diploma. Classes are held in the evenings, and because all of the students work, they have no time to grab dinner before school begins. So they bring dinner to share with one another, and with Sister Grace, as they study.
To read in depth about Sister Grace and the Dorothy Stang Popular Education Adult High School, check out the feature article in the Spring 2015 Edition of Cross Currents
Update: Sister Grace Escobar has retired and currently reside in Cincinnati, Ohio