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Posted 05 Aug 2001   For week ended July 27, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 26Jul01

By Kent Larsen

LDS Teacher Remembered for Helping Immigrants

VANCOUVER, WASHINGTON -- An LDS woman who transformed her own immigrant struggles with English into a passion for teaching English as a second language was featured in The Columbian last Saturday. Virginia Yadao Shorey taught English as a second langauge at Ft. Vancouver High School before her death July 6th from liver cancer. She was 49.

The Vancouver newspaper, The Columbian, wrote about Shorey in its regular feature, "Final Salute." The feature looks at the life of a randomly chosen member of the community, writing about their interesting lives and accomplishments.

Shorey came to the United States in her 20s from the Philippines. At that time she could barely speak English, and when a stewardess on the plane asked if she would like a cocktail, Shorey was barely able to come up with a way to avoid alcohol. "Fruit cocktail, please," she answered.

In the US, she quickly learned English, and became better at it than many native speaker. Shorey then got a job teaching English as a second language in a local high school, but continued to learn, earning a master's degree from Leiws and Clark College in spite of teaching full time. She also worked as a volunteer for the LDS Church's Salmon Creek Ward and was a mother to two children, Heather and Rocky Shorey.

But her teaching was her passion. "She loved to teach. It was her lifelong passion," said her husband, Roscoe Shorey. And in teaching English to immigrants she had an advantage, her own background as an immigrant, "I think it was a great help to her in understanding and being empathetic to the kids. She had known hunger, she had known want and she had a burning desire to learn," said her friend Dorothy Parkin. "She was a lifetime learner. She wanted her students to feel that, because she felt that that was the way they could succeed in this country." Parkin adds, "She's one of the best teachers I've ever seen."

And Parkin says that Shorey's skills were particularly valuable in high school, "High schools can be very exclusive places. Some fit in; some don't. It was terribly important to her that everyone had a place. I felt li the whole world was her family, and I felt because of her background, she felt that very passionately: that no one should feel outside the family."


Final Salute: Teacher Helped Other Immigrants Learn About America
Vancouver WA Columbian 21Jul01 P2
By Margaret Ellis: Columbian staff writer


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