Early morning Friday, Hannah Oak and Maria Corral have their last English session in Crispin Hall at Illinois College.
Oak’s been tutoring for three semesters, but she’s about to leave for Spain to study abroad next semester.
It’s part of a growing program on the campus in which Spanish majors work with members of the Jacksonville Latino community to improve their English.
Oak, a junior majoring in international studies, Spanish and Japanese, has Corral read “George and Martha: One Fine Day” by James Marshall. Children’s books are useful tools to practice English, because the words frequently rhyme or at least have similar sounds.
As 9 a.m. approaches, Oak rushes to class, having lost track of time, as is usually the case.
She expresses concern for a Spanish project due and Corral is quick to encourage her.
“You’ll do fine,” she says.
The tutoring may have its academic base, but it’s turned into something much bigger — a friendship.
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Photo and story by Jake Russell, Journal-Courier