GOLFITO – Sixteen Coast Guard students,four Coast Guard instructors and 19community members in December madeup the second graduating class of theShannon Lucile Martin English Center inthe southern Pacific port city of Golfito.Like the center’s first group of graduates(TT, June 4, 2004), after passing the level-oneEnglish-languageprogram, thestudents now possessthe skills necessaryto conversein basic English.Students receivedtheir diplomasduring thegraduation ceremonyat the HotelSierra in Golfito. Abuffet dinner followedthe graduation,along withsinging, dancingand martial artsdemonstrations.Instructor SaraHaskins presentedawards for first andsecond place ineach of theEnglish-programgroups. She saysmost studentsentered the classroom with no priorEnglish-language training.“It was really amazing to watch theprogress of the students,” Haskins said.“At first it was a struggle to get many ofthem to try to speak English. Now studentsargue over who gets to speak first or readthe longest part of a dialog.“English has become a very importantpart of their lives,” she added. “One husbandasked me what I did to his Spanish-speakingwife, because she now speaks tohim only in English. Now, he wants to jointhe class.”The center offers a comprehensiveEnglish-languageprogram that combinestraditionalteaching methodswith textbooks andinteractive multimediainstructionon computers.Each classmeets three days aweek for a total offive hours. Muchof the focus inclass is on correctpronunciation andlistening comprehension.Newclasses will beginin February 2005,and are offered atno charge to residentswho live inand around thecommunity ofGolfito.The ShannonLucile Martin English Center is supportedby the Shannon L. Martin Foundation, anot-for-profit organization established inmemory of University of Kansas studentShannon Martin, who was slain in Golfitoin May 2001. Donations can be madeonline at www.shannonlmartin.org.