Spotlighting Shuai Sheng from One91 School for Adults
Adult Basic Education student Shuai Sheng credits the One91 School for Adults at Diamondhead Education Center with “bringing (his) life back to normal.”
When Sheng came to the United States from China in 2021, he quickly realized just how much the language barrier would affect his everyday life. He had taken some introductory English classes in middle school and high school, but was far from fluent. That turned even the simplest tasks into challenges for Sheng as he attempted to navigate his new surroundings.
“Two years ago when I first came here, I couldn’t find the bathroom because everything said ‘restroom’ and I didn’t know the word ‘restroom.’ In China I was a normal person and could do everything and in the United States I couldn’t,” Sheng said. “It felt like an injury - I needed help with everything. It’s so important for us to be able to communicate with other people.”
Soon after arriving in the Twin Cities, Sheng saw an ad in a magazine for the One91 School for Adults. He quickly signed up with the goal of improving his English. Over the past two years, he’s taken just about every class available, including courses in English, technology, paraprofessional courses, and GED courses. He has passed three GED tests and needs to pass just one more to complete his GED.
“In Adult Education, not only are the courses free, but also every teacher is friendly and they encourage you to participate in various courses that are suitable for you,” Sheng said. “It has enabled me to express myself in English. Being fluent in English will be true freedom. I think District 191 provides an excellent learning platform for adults. As a 35-year-old person, I can once again enter school to learn, and I cherish this opportunity because it is so rare.”
Sheng is now helping give other adult learners the same opportunities as an administrative assistant for the Adult Basic Education program.
“The job is a new challenge for me, and I enjoy the feeling of being busy with this job. Burnsville Adult Education has helped me be successful through its various coursework that I can apply in my new job,” he said. “It’s a really cool job to help other people and kind of give them that freedom.”