America has the lowest college completion rate among developed countries, but for immigrant students the challenges of graduating are even higher with linguistic and cultural barriers. The inclination to believe they cannot succeed is all too common. Thirty-one years ago, an English teacher in a public school stood up and insisted that students believe in themselves. She began dreaming for them, with them, when it was hard for them to be visible.
We know how damaging low expectations can be for young people. It’s why programs such as the Scholarship Association for ESL Students are necessary to convey the message that no one should be denied a college education if they wish to pursue one, regardless of their background, legal status or origin. SAESL believes in the potential of these students who, in turn, grow to believe in themselves.