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Area residents were among 19 women awarded graduation certificates

Dominican Literacy Center Honors Students, Graduates

AURORA, Ill., May 21, 2018—Aurora’s Dominican Literacy Center recently recognized women in the center’s three-year English learning-program.

Area residents were among 19 women awarded graduation certificates in 24th annual  ceremonies May 14-18 at the center, 260 Vermont St. in Aurora.

Celebrations were held after graduates’ final weekly 90-minute class. About 150 students received participation certificates for completing one or two years of studies.

Alison Brzezinski, DLC tutoring coordinator, awarded graduation certificates.

Dominican sisters Kathleen Ryan, DLC director and Jane Beckman, instructor, pinned corsages on students. About 3,000 students have graduated from the DLC since its inception in 1993.

Each student and tutor reflected briefly on their DLC experiences. Refreshments concluded the ceremonies. Graduates were:

Aurora–Maria Aguila, Ana Aguilar, Alicia Aleman, Lilia Altamirano,

Angelica Escalera, Maria Gamino, Maria Carmen Garcia,

Gloria Gomez, Sunghye Goo, Maria Gutierrez, Sr. Irma Luna Lira, Rosa Ruiz, Martha Ortiz, Claudia Pena, Ana Perez and Hortencia Ramirez,

Montgomery–Miriam Barraza, Carmen Camacho

Plainfield–Yunmi Lee

Mexican nun Sister Irma Luna Lira, right was among graduates of Aurora’s Dominican Literacy Center who were recently honored for completing the center’s three-year English learning program. From Left are Dominican Sister Jane Beckman, DLC instructor; Sr. Kathleen Ryan, DLC director; and Irene Christensen, Oswego, 11-year tutor. Sr. Lira serves at St. Nicholas Church in Aurora during the school year. (Al Benson photo)

Dominican Sister Kathleen Ryan, DLC founder and director, said “Women who come to the Dominican Literacy Center put themselves on the path to a successful life in their new country.

“They learn English-language skills that help them to become informed mothers,  confident women and full participants in life in the United States.”

Sister Ryan founded the center to enable women to receive individual tutoring in reading, writing and speaking English from trained volunteer tutors.

Students meet with tutors 90 minutes weekly from September to May at the DLC on the grounds of St. Therese Catholic Church.

Tutoring sessions are held on five weekday mornings, four afternoons and three evenings.

New students are tested to receive individually-tailored instruction and learning materials. Twice-weekly conversation classes are optional.

The center also sponsors classes to prepare men and women to take the U.S. citizenship exam.

Sr. Ryan added, “We are always looking for volunteer female literacy tutors.

“Tutors meet weekly with students for 90 minutes, using ESL books, writing exercises, conversation practice, grammar exercises and computer materials.

“Tutors receive 16 hours of training and on-going support from the DLC staff.”

Tutors select a weekly tutoring time which fits their schedules.

Students and tutors are needed for the fall term starting in September. Call (630) 898-4636 for information.

Dominican Literacy Center background

Founded in 1993, the DLC uses volunteer female tutors to provide women with one-on-one personalized studies at the center.

Dominican Sister Kathleen Ryan is center founder and director. She said instruction is free, a book fee is $25.

Prospective students will be called to make an appointment for registration and testing.

The center currently serves about 200 students from September through May. Since its founding, the nonprofit has provided 2,600 local immigrant women with free, personalized literacy tutoring.

Additionally, the center holds free group classes to prepare immigrants for the U.S. citizenship test. Hundreds have obtained citizenship since classes began in 1998.

For more information, call (630) 898-4636 or email

Al Benson
Freelance Photo-Journalist

Al Benson is an Aurora-based freelance photo-journalist. He is currently an archives research specialist at Aurora University. His work has appeared in The Voice, The Daily Herald, The Beacon-News, and the Chicago Tribune.

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