Celebrating Transitions

“I am grateful to be part of HBAS and I’m very thankful for Mr. Joe.  He’s not just a teacher, but he’s our best friend.”  - Farnoosh, Iran  

On June 10, our Academic ESL (Transitions) class gathered for an end-of-the-year party.  The celebration honored students moving on to community college, including 16 continuing their education at Orange Coast College.   

Academic ESL (Transitions) was launched in 2019 as an option for our ESL Level 4 promoters to continue their English studies at HBAS in a Level 5 class.  The name “Transitions” fits the course, as its main goal is to prepare advanced students for transitions to college, career training and jobs.  

In response to the pandemic, ESL instructor Joe Eustermann brought the Academic ESL course fully online through the entire 2020-2021 school year. Under his guidance, Joe’s students continued to thrive in their virtual classroom on Microsoft Teams. One student explained that “it was hard in the beginning for us to adapt to the online class format" but that their teacher was "always there for us.” The June 10 gathering was extra special, as it was actually the first time the class met in person!   

Joining the Academic ESL (Transitions) celebration were Assistant Principal Phillip Villamor, Counselor Ashley Nguyen, College and Career Specialist Valerie Beachley, and Rena Quinonez from the OCC Adult Education Program.   This joyous affair was filled with laughter, food, speeches and lots of photos. Valerie Beachley shared that “it was a great celebration and collaborative effort between HBAS and OCC.” 

Many students gave speeches about how much they loved Joe’s class and how it has helped them in life.  It’s obvious that Mr. Eustermann has created a welcoming culture of friendship and learning.   

Karin (Peru) shared, “I was afraid to drive but I wanted to go to school, so I forced myself to learn to drive so I can go to school.  It feels like a family here.” Saiko described how “I came from Japan but I did not know English or have many friends here.  Now I know English and have many friends.”   

In addition to students moving on to college, Academic ESL has also celebrated students starting their first jobs in the States. Orapin (Thailand) shared that “HBAS gave me so many opportunities and now I have a career in America.”  

After the party, Joe shared how excited he was “to see my students take that next step in their education.” He is especially proud that “in addition to embracing American culture, history, and English, my students have also embraced the all-important concept of life-long-learning.”   

HBAS congratulates these amazing students, and thanks OCC for working closely with us to give our students a smooth transition from adult school to community college.  Our staff will continue to support these students on their journey and celebrate their next transitions.   

Enrollment in morning and evening Academic ESL (Transitions) is open for the summer session (June 21 – July 28) and the upcoming Fall 2021 semester.