Kendal Rinko '09 Honored for Work with Area ELL Students

Alisa Giardinelli

Kendal Rinko '09 Honored for
Work with Area ELL Students

by Alisa Giardinelli
5/25/2009

Lauren Walker '09

Kendal Rinko '09 with Mr. Rodriguez, the lead teacher at her school in Norristown, Pa.

Kendal Rinko '09, a Latin American studies and education major and McCabe Scholar from Maple Glen, Pa., is the recpient of a Friend of Education Award in recognition of her dedication and efforts to improve the quality of education of the children in the Norristown [Pa.] School District. While observing in the district this year for her thesis, she worked with ELL (English Language Learner) students on translating and on  independent projects in reading, writing, math, and science. She also provided a space for them in which to speak, write, and read in Spanish.

"Everyone there was always so supportive and welcoming of my presence," she says. "I learned just as much from them as I did in my classes."

One of those classes - Language Minority Education - was taught last fall by Elaine Allard '01, a visiting instructor in Educational Studies. "I found a way to combine all of the things I am most passionate about through this class: education, education reform, (Mexican) immigrant rights, language/literacy, and hands-on connections with the people affected by all of these things," says Kendal, who ultimately asked Allard to be her advisor.  "Elaine is amazing, motivating, and inspiring and I have learned so much from her."

It's fitting, then, that the students that Kendal worked with felt the same about her.  The teacher who nominated her wrote: "We are nominating Kendal because of her commitment to see our ELL students succeed.  She has committed several hours a week to assist and interact with our ELL students.  Her extra time has allowed our students an opportunity to comprehend much of the information being delivered and has elevated their self-esteem.  She has become a mentor to our students and inspires them to achieve their goal of learning English."