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Campbellsville University’s ESL Institute holds pinning ceremony

Students and faculty participating in the English as a Second Language completion ceremony include, from left: Front row – Vickie Campbell, Kay Bell, Raquel Cunha, Eduardo Ramirez, Alessandra Alemany, Gianna Garcia and Robert Parrish. Back row – Joshua Detherage, Samuel Fernandez, Adem Hommeur, Amir Anna, Dimitri Davila, Raul Martinez, Cristhian Galiano, Dr. Keith Spears and Dr. Eduardo Trindade. (Campbellsville University Photo by Gerard Flanagan)

By Simon Baker, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – On May 3, Campbellsville University’s English as a Second Language (ESL) Institute honored students who graduated from the program in The Gheens Recital Hall.

Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University, opened the event and welcomed everyone.

He congratulated the ESL students on their accomplishments, saying, “Congratulations to you on a journey well-traveled and for all your accomplishments.”

“We are proud of this community and the many cultures that come together in Campbellsville, Kentucky,” Hopkins added, “and so grateful that you chose to come and add to this culture here and be a part of our community and part of our family and hope you already remember you are always a part of the Campbellsville University family.”

Dr. Keith Spears, chancellor for university system advancement at Campbellsville University, emphasized the importance of people having an understanding of the English language.

He shared with the graduates how he and a friend once went hiking in the rainforest in Portugal and got lost. However, because he was able to communicate with the locals who spoke English, they were able to find their way back.

The young woman who gave directions to Spears and his friend said, “I took ESL in my high school,” allowing her to effectively communicate with them.

Spears told the graduates, “The issue we have in the world today is one you are going to solve, and that is communication. When you leave here with the power of English behind you,  you will be able to jump over cultural barriers that hold other people back.”

“Not only do you have your native language, but you also have the English language.”

Joshua Detherage, an ESL, and Master of Art in Teaching English as a Second Language to Others (MA TESOL) instructor at Campbellsville University, Robert Parrish, an ESL and MA TESOL instructor at Campbellsville University and Raquel Cunha, director of ESL at Campbellsville University, presented the ESL Outstanding Student Award to Eduardo Jose Ramirez Aldana and Raul Martinez Fernandez.

Detherage said, “This award is given to the graduating students who exemplify academic achievement, positive class involvement and cultural awareness.”

Detherage said Aldana and Fernandez “have demonstrated academic excellence in the classroom and have actively participated in lessons, interacted well with fellow students from a variety of cultural backgrounds and brought a positive and interactive attitude to the classroom.”

Graduating students from the ESL program were  Eduardo Jose Ramirez Aldana from Venezuela, Raul Martinez Fernandez from Spain, Cristhian Gabriel Barrientos Galiano from Peru, Adem Hommeur from France, Gianna Garcia Iannino from Venezuela, Alessandra Alemany Morantinos from Venezuela, Amir Anna Rojas from Bolivia, Samuel Fernandez Sanz from Spain, Dimitri Davila Valenzuela from Bolivia.

Amanda Goforth, director of the Center for Global Engagement at Campbellsville University said, “We hope you all continue to succeed with whatever you do next.”

“The primary purpose of language is to communicate and connect with other people,” Goforth shared.

Cunha gave closing remarks, and Dr. Eduardo Trindade, MA TESOL director and assistant professor, closed the ceremony in prayer.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with an enrollment of nearly 12,000 students. The university offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is