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
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