Sioux Falls is filled with generous businesses and organizations that partner together to better serve the people living in this city. One such business is Xcel Energy. Xcel Energy has supported high-level adult ESL education here at the LSS Center for New Americans for over 10 years. One way we thought we’d say “Thank you!” is by highlighting one of our most dedicated students, Carlota Zetino Tovar. Carlota has graduated into our high level speaking, writing, and citizenship classes, and because of grant support from Xcel Energy, she gets the opportunity to learn daily by working on her literacy and vocabulary skills.
After our Zoom class, Carlota stayed on the computer with me so I could ask her some questions about her life and her commitment to her education.
Carlota is originally from Santa Ana, El Salvador – “the little country in Central America,” she tells me, and she came to Sioux Falls seven years ago. I asked her why she came to the US, and her answer was family. “My family lives here in Sioux Falls. Only me … was staying in El Salvador. They helped me for immigration to the United States.” Carlota has five sisters in Sioux Falls, and her husband has very recently come to live permanently with her here. “My husband says he is too old to try this new living, but I am happy he is here.” Now Carlota has her whole family near her.
Before Carlota came to South Dakota, she worked for thirty-two impressive years in the Santa Ana health care industry. She was a nurse for twelve years and then worked as a psychologist for twenty years. Her caring and capable nature certainly shines through in the classroom, and it’s easy to see her as a caregiver. Carlota currently works in a cafeteria and she was recently moved to the cashier position because her English skills have improved so much
Carlota started taking English classes at LSS because of language barriers she wanted to overcome. “I need English classes for more opportunities for work. It’s necessary for different relationships everywhere: for the business, for the bank, for the clinic.”
Carlota is very happy to be living in Sioux Falls. “Yes, I like it! It’s a beautiful city, it’s little. For me, it’s not dangerous. There is no problem for the traffic. It’s different than a big city. I am liking Sioux Falls very much.”
Carlota has a big goal she is working toward: getting her American citizenship. She is currently taking citizenship classes on the weekends studying American history, government, and the N400 interview. “I am grateful I can study the citizenship. It’s important for me. When I get my citizenship, I will have more opportunities. For example, for voting, for choosing the president.”
Carlota is a shining example of a motivated and empowered ESL student. The LSS Center for New Americans is thankful for Xcel Energy for helping make Carlota’s dreams a reality!
Lindy Obach, ESL Instructor
LSS Center for New Americans
300 E. 6th St., Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities