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2015 Champion Shahla Hashimi

Woman overcomes language barrier to get Grade 12 diploma

Shahla-Hashimi rs When Shahla Hashimi officially received her Grade 12 diploma, she had two young supporters at the ceremony.

Her sons, aged 13 and eight, were a couple of her biggest cheerleaders.

“They went to the graduation and they were so proud,” she said. It was a major accomplishment for the Brantford resident who came to Canada from Afghanistan in 2007 unable to speak much English.

She began taking English as a Second Language classes and, when she had reached a measure of proficiency, was advised by her instructors to attend Grand Erie Learning Alternatives (GELA), which offers credit courses toward earning a high school diploma.

“My language wasn’t perfect,” said Shahla. “I had some problems with words but the instructors were nice and helpful. They explained everything for me so that it was easy to do my work in class and my homework.” Sam Ludlow of Ontario Works, who nominated Shahla as one of this year’s Education WORKS Champions, said becoming confident in a new language was key to her success.

“Not only did she have to juggle family, she also had to deal with English not being her first language,” said Sam. “Shahla has been able to demonstrate that the motivation to learn and be successful in that language is possible.”

Since graduating with her Grade 12 last June, Shahla has been seeking employment and doing some volunteer work in a Brantford retirement home.

Photo by Brian Thompson, Brantford Expositor