She's Only Just Begun ...
Gail Greenly had a long and successful career as a high school French teacher – from about 1963 to 1979, and again from around 2000 to 2011. “But I’d been thinking about other careers,” she says. “Something that would be interesting, and offer some job security.”
In 1994 she took a summer course in Criminal Justice, and found it fascinating. “And some of my friends said I should study criminal justice if I was going to keep teaching high school students,” she jokes.
In 2012, after several years on the waiting list, Gail moved to senior housing at Horseshoe Pond, which meant that NHTI was only a short commute away. “I’ve always loved ‘The Tech’,” she says. “I took some computer courses there way back.” She was also aware of the 50% tuition abatement program for seniors. So the lifelong teacher went back to school, becoming NHTI’s oldest CJ student.
So what’s it like be the only senior woman in a program dominated by strapping young men? “Well, there are young women, too,” Gail is quick to point out. “Anyway, it’s been fantastic. Professor Raymond, chair of the department, is outstanding in the classroom and as an advisor. Our CJ courses are all taught by current and former law enforcement professionals, which makes the class relevant and stimulating. And I’m writing my senior paper on the privatization of prisons; it’s very interesting.”
Gail is on track to graduate with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice this spring. Along the way, she’s become a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the academic honor society for two-year schools.
And what does the future hold?
“Well, obviously I’m not going to the Police Academy and climb walls,” she laughs. “I love computers and I love research. I’d love to do something in juvenile justice or work in the courts, but I can’t afford to be fussy at this age.” Just to be on the safe side, Gail has already enrolled in an Information Technology program for the fall, to further enhance her career possibilities.
Tuesday March 24
12 - 2 pm
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The Pied Piper of ESOL
Rosemarie Hughes-Smith retired after 27 years at the same job. It only took a couple of years of not working before she was ready to start something new. And so, in 2010, she returned to NHTI (“I’d taken a few courses there before”) for an Associate Degree in Human Services.
Rosie soon became an active and well-known figure on campus. She became a veteran Orientation Leader, famously telling the crowds that she graduated from a high school that no longer exists (the now-defunct Ashland High). And, as part of her program, Rosie did a practicum working with NHTI’s Office of Cross-cultural Studies and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) on what was then a fairly new program: Conversation Partners.
Conversation Partners brings English-speaking students at NHTI together with non-native English-speaking students outside the classroom for one-on-one conversations to facilitate learning and cultural exchange. For the non-native speakers, it’s a chance to meet Americans, learn more about American culture, and practice their English. For the native speakers, it’s an opportunity to meet people from different countries and learn more about other cultures.
“Rosie was only supposed to be helping us out temporarily,” says Dawn Higgins, Director of Cross-cultural Education and ESOL, “but she quickly became invaluable.” Among other things, Rosie created the database the department uses to manage the program and keep track of the many conversations it facilitates. Last semester alone there were some 240 cross-cultural conversations.
Every ESOL student at NHTI is required to participate in five conversations per semester – in most cases, with five different partners. That means the department needs to find a lot of willing conversationalists. In addition to recruiting students individually, the program has persuaded some academic departments to integrate Conversation Partners into their curricula, including Human Services, IT, Nursing and Dental, Sociology, and Criminal Justice. The foreign language department has put a different twist on the program by pairing French language students with ESOL students whose first language is French.
Rosie earned her degree in 2012, and went on to earn a bachelor’s in Psychology at Granite State College in 2014. Even now that she is a part-time member of the ESOL staff, she is working on a Master’s at SNHU. But she remains devoted to NHTI and the Conversation Partners program.
“Every student who participates is nervous about it at first,” she says, “but nine out of ten end up loving it, and coming back for more.”
“Students love Rosie,” says Dawn Higgins. “There’s a huge group of students who only want to see her. She’s like the pied piper.”
To learn more about Conversation Partners, contact the ESOL Office at 230-4055.
Mar 20, 2015