Collin College will hold its annual ESL Excellence Scholarship Luncheon on Thursday, April 2 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Spring Creek Campus Living Legends Conference Center, located at 2800 E. Spring Creek Pkwy. in Plano.

Part celebration and part fundraiser, the scholarship luncheon will feature live entertainment, a catered meal and a message from students helped by the English as a Second Language program.

Communication is a skill that most Americans take for granted. Someone who has lived here all his life understands even the roughest native speaker’s English. That isn’t always true for non-native English speakers, who may need a little more help working through the language to function well in society.

Martha Ahmad

Originally from Mexico, student Martha Ahmad said she was not prepared for the transition to English when she came to the United States even though she had studied the language for years on her own. She just didn’t feel fluent enough to be confident in her speech.

“I had a lot of plans, thinking I was going to work and do so many things. It was very surprising that I couldn’t even ask for a job,” she said.

She has made great strides in the years since she came to America, but there were subtleties to English that made going to college difficult. Ahmad said the small classes in Collin College’s ESL program made learning easier because the education felt more personal. She said the teachers were very nurturing and that she feels much more confident now.

“I took four classes last semester and I feel much better,” she said.

ESL Excellence Scholarship

The ESL Excellence Scholarship program has given 21 students help paying for classes to master the language since its inception in 2011. The scholarships are available to all Collin College students who have taken at least one English as a Second Language class and plan to take another. The scholarships are tied specifically to ESL classes, which are not always covered by other scholarships.

“(ESL classes) fall under the category of developmental classes, which do not usually qualify for scholarships,” luncheon organizer Kristine Springate said. “We have outstanding ESL students who need financial help with tuition, too, so this scholarship fills that gap.”

Ahmad and another student, Farah Kuzbari from Syria, will relate their stories of transition at the luncheon. The event will be catered by Abuelos and others and will feature a traditional Indian dance called “Bharatnatyam,” performed by Martha’s daughter Nooreen and another dancer, Robert Walker. 

Admission to the luncheon is $10 at the door or available beforehand in Spring Creek Campus Room K102.

All proceeds benefit the ESL Excellence scholarship fund. For more information, contact Springate at or call 972-881-5720.


About Collin College

Collin College is a community college in North Texas’ Collin County. One of the fastest-growing community colleges or universities in Texas, the college serves nearly 53,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degrees and certificates. With seven campuses throughout the college district, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and workforce development. Collin College has locations in Plano (Spring Creek Campus), McKinney (Central Park Campus) and Frisco (Preston Ridge Campus). In addition, there are satellite centers in Plano, Allen and Rockwall. For more information, visit