Literacy Council student: Learning English ‘opened a big door for me’

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 16, 2015

By Susan Shinn

For The Salisbury Post

It took Lucy Vargas three tries before she got up the nerve to attend tutoring through Rowan Literacy Council.

She’s glad she did.

“Learning English has changed my life,” says Lucy, who’s been working with tutors for four years. Her current tutor is Char Molrine, a retired teacher who works with three other students.

“She’s just a joy to teach,” Char says. “She wants her work to be perfect.”

Lucy was the featured speaker at Rowan Literacy Council’s annual volunteer recognition dinner. The organization also used the recent event to promote its upcoming Scrabble Scramble, set for April 21 in the special events room at Trinity Oaks.

It’s the group’s only fundraiser of the year and therefore an important event, according to President Melody Moxley.

Lucy used her time to thank each of the tutors for their efforts.

Lucy is a familiar face at K&W, where she’s been a waitress since 2001. A native of Mexico, she and her husband live in Lexington, and he drops her off early each morning at McDonald’s, where she studies for three hours before reporting for work at 10 a.m.

“I was tired of not knowing the language,” Lucy says. She felt like it was holding her back. “I decided I’d had enough. I want to go to school and learn.”

Now, she says, she can speak much better English and understand the language much better as well.

She says she no longer feels like a fish out of water.

“I love my job,” she says. Lucy carries trays, helps customers to their tables, and buses and cleans tables.

“I like to concentrate on my job,” she says.

And she doesn’t mind studying or homework one bit.

“Char is the best,” says Lucy, who gets off work early on Fridays so the two can meet at Rowan Public Library.

“I want my work to be perfect,” Lucy admits. “Char doesn’t have to correct me much, and I feel proud.”

Lucy says that one day she’d like to get a GED, and learn French, too.

“I’ve been blessed,” she says. “I think I’m doing good.”

She told the tutors at the recent dinner, “English opened a big door for me. We speak because of you. This is our second language. This is the first time I’ve spoken English in front of a lot of people. Thank you for all you’re doing for all of us. God bless all of you.”

The 12th Annual Scrabble Scramble is set for April 21 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the special events room at Trinity Oaks. Cost for a 10-player team is $30 per person, and includes a buffet dinner, three rounds of Scrabble, and raffle prizes. All proceeds benefit Rowan Literacy Council. For more information, call the council at 704-216-8266 or visit

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.