Remarks of U.S. Consulate General Chennai Public Affairs Officer Ariel Pollock at English Access Graduation Ceremony

Tiruchirapalli: Good afternoon, and warm greetings to you all.

I am delighted to be here this afternoon to present the “Certificate of Achievement” to the students who successfully completed the “English Access Microscholarship Program” at the Periyar Maniammai Girls’ Higher Secondary School in Tiruchirapalli.

I am very impressed with the WIND Trust and Periyar Trust for their vision to empower these young students to build right future in their career, and I thank them for their support.

English plays a key role in the friendship, respect, and understanding that the United States and India have for each other.

Congratulations students on completing Access scholarship.  That’s a great accomplishment.  You devoted two entire years of your life in improving your English skills.  That is a lot of time that you could have been having fun! Instead you dedicated your time to learning.  Being so young, I’m very impressed with your desire to learn more. Well done.

I am so excited to see you, dedicated to improving your futures.  I can’t think of any way better to expand your horizons than by learning and perfecting another language.  When I was younger I too had the opportunity to learn another language – French.  And after joining the State Department, I learned Urdu before working in Pakistan.

These opportunities have opened so many avenues for me.  I think learning another language and learning about other cultures is so important.  It really opens a window onto the world.  I wish all the children had this opportunity.

Access program has been a resounding success for the past ten years and has inspired its participants to continue on in pursuit of advanced degrees, tutor their fellow classmates in English, and to take positions in the government and private sectors.

Over this time, ten Access students have received year-long scholarships to study in the U.S., and we expect future scholarship winners from this group also.

So keep constantly using your language skills, so that you will speak fluently and confidently, and can active roles in your communities as well.

My special thanks to Dr. Jayasudha Thiagarajan for your great support in training the faculty, and your guidance for the overall development of these students.

My special thanks also to Access faculty for sparing your valuable time to help these deserving children shine.  I am sure that you all enjoyed in teaching of these young kids.

I sincerely thank the WIND Trust and the school management for giving us this opportunity to add to your efforts in educating these young girls.

I feel this is a great opportunity for the U.S. and India to collaborate on the education programs that opens doors for young people as they learn the language and leadership skills that will serve them a lifetime.

We (the U.S. Consulate General, Chennai and Regional English Language Office New Delhi) hope to continue to build on and sustain the relationship we have with WIND Trust and School and view the successful completion of the Access program as a model of collaboration and landmark of our relationship.