Stephanie and Thanh Le in classroom

Two Generations, One Heart

“I am proud of my daughter for being a volunteer at Literacy Network,” says Thanh Le about his daughter, Stephanie, a Community Literacy intern at Literacy Network.

When Thanh first moved to Madison at the end of the Vietnam War, he worked as a dishwasher at a hotel, though he had a bachelor’s degree in science in Vietnam. Every day after work, he went to MATC, where a Literacy Network tutor helped him practice conversational English.

“Literacy Network helped me practice speaking English and build confidence,” Thanh says. “This helped me become a volunteer tutor… and eventually a science teacher in the Madison Public Schools.”

He earned his master’s degree in Adult Education at UW-Madison, and taught high school science until he retired in 2009. “Now I cook for Stephanie every day!” he laughs.

Today, Stephanie writes individualized lessons every week for English learners who want to get better jobs, return to school, or be more involved in the community. It’s a story Stephanie knows well.

“I know firsthand what my own family members have experienced in learning English,” she shares. She understands the barriers many adult learners face, and their determination to come to class and achieve their goals. She is inspired by their dedication—a dedication that reminds her of her father’s journey.

“I am proud of my dad for being fearless,” she says. “And having the courage upon arriving [to the US] to take whatever steps it took to continue his educational goal.”

Stephanie carries Thanh’s legacy forward while creating her own path as a Community Literacy intern, helping learners like her father achieve their goals one lesson at a time.

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