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Summer 2022 Student News

Welcome to CCI-LEX Student News!

What a busy summer it has been!

Not only did we return to an in-person Annual General Meeting after two years online, but we were also able to come together for our Summer Celebration at the Legislature Grounds once again.

We have also been super excited to go on some of our favourite field trips this summer, like visiting the Art Gallery and spending a day at Elk Island Park, as well as re-starting our community volunteer activities for students at places such as the Hope Mission and the Mustard Seed.

It has been amazing to get back to these events and have face to face connections with old and new friends, students, and teachers alike!

It’s hard to believe that we are already preparing for a new September term, and it is shaping up to be a busy one!  We look forward to welcoming our returning students and volunteers, as well as many new faces to CCI-LEX this fall.  We’ll see you soon!

Happy Reading,

Anne-Marie Kallal, Executive Director

Highlights from our 2022 Annual General Meeting

“Unfailing dedication, significant contributions and innovative thinking”


After two years of online meetings, we finally went back to our first in-person Annual General Meeting (AGM). For the first time we held our AGM in the newly built Stanley A. Milner library that opened in 2020. It was a night of celebration and anticipation as we reflected on the past year! Please continue reading for more details on the night!

Located straight across from City Hall, our Annual General Meeting took place in the Library’s spacious and elegant Community Rooms. A change in venue was an exciting opportunity for students to tour the library, learn about their different services and interact with the digital screen located in the library lobby. After our tour, many students signed up for their own EPL library cards! Sign-up today for the Edmonton Public Library’s amazing services, workshops and events!

Before the meeting, guests had the opportunity to catch up with those that they haven’t seen in months. With some classes still being held online, several students and teachers met each other for the first time in-person!  We played a slideshow of photo highlights from the past year while our guests arrived and took their seats.

Our business meeting began at 6:00 pm sharp. Board President, Debjani Poddar Hannigan, shared her President’s Report.  She talked about committee accomplishments from the past year, including completing a new 2022-2025 strategic plan and a multi-year funding agreement. Another exciting announcement was that our Fund Development Committee was able to double donations for the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, as well as surpass our total donation goal for the year, hooray!

Next, our Executive Director, Anne-Marie Kallal, gave her report.  She reviewed various goals and achievements of the last year.  Not only did we continue to welcome new students while navigating difficult health and policy decisions, but we even hosted our own pop-up vaccine clinic at the school! She talked about CCI-LEX’s goal to improve outcomes for our newcomer students by building digital skills, connecting learners to community resources and employment, as well as exploring community partnerships to support this work in the next year.

Similar to past years, the most memorable part of our night was when our students shared their success stories in Canada! This year, Alain Cuizon, a previous student and current volunteer teacher in the LEX program shared about his struggles as a new immigrant. He eventually found a home at CCI-LEX and is now able to pursue his passion of teaching!

Next we had the stories of the winners from our My Success in Canada Writing Contest.  Two students, Adriana Gonzalez and Ivan Velasquez, both took time out of their busy days to share their stories of success with our guests!  Hats off to these two brave students who spoke of their experiences in front of such a big crowd in their second language! We also enjoyed the stories of four other students, Adriana, Agere, Hawa and Nirmalasthuthi, via video.  Lastly, there were heart-warming impromptu presentations by two LEX students, Soman and Angeline, who spoke about the positive impact CCI-LEX has had on them.  In our next story you can watch or read about the successes of all of the winners from our writing contest!

Two other students, Adriana Gonzalez and Ivan Velasquez, both took time out of their busy days to share their stories of success in Canada with our guests! Hats off to these two brave students who spoke of their experiences in front of a big crowd in their second language! We also enjoyed the stories of four other students, Adriana, Agere, Hawa and Nirmalasthuthi, via video.  Please read the next story to watch or read about the successes of all of these students!

Overall, meeting in a new place and coming back in-person for our Annual General Meeting was very exciting for us! Thank you to those who joined us for this lovely evening, especially those who shared their stories and expressed appreciation for CCI-LEX.  We hope you can all join us again next year!


My Success in Canada 2022! 

Dreams do come true… even during a worldwide pandemic!


It has been a challenging year for our students.  Many had to change between online and in-person learning, while also trying to follow all the changing rules and policies around the pandemic.  Despite all the changes, they demonstrated great dedication and perseverance.  Once again, we are very proud to share their stories of success in Canada! Keep reading to learn more about our My Success in Canada Contest or watch recordings of our winners sharing their stories!

CCI-LEX works hard to support newcomers in their pursuit of a new life in Canada. And every year, we celebrate the successes (big and small!) of our students with our My Success in Canada writing contest! This year, we received many submissions from students in both our LEX and CCI programs, with a total of 7 winners and 11 honorable mentions!  We are pleased to introduce the 7 winners below!


Adriana Gonzalez is a student from Venezuela. A student in our LEX Intermediate morning class, Adriana took on some huge challenges moving here to Canada, from icy sidewalks to getting a driver’s license! Click on this link below to hear Adriana share her story of how she became a “child” again in Canada as she adjusted to a new life.

We had another winner, also named Adriana, and she is from our CCI Advanced class! Adriana Rodriguez comes from Colombia and faced various challenges to come to Canada. Overcoming disappointment, Adriana never gave up on her dreams.  Now she is studying in Toronto after completing her ESL studies at CCI-LEX! Click on this link below to listen to her inspiring story!

The next winner is Agere Tadele Anteneh! She came from Ethiopia and was studying in our LEX High Beginner class. She describes her experience arriving in Canada and speaking no English. Slowly, her studies have allowed her to speak and write in English and even helped her get a part-time job! Here is her story:

Hawo Abdi Elmi comes from Somalia.  She is our only winner from our LEX Low Beginner class! Adjusting to her life in Canada with her children, Hawo shares about successes in her life before and after she learned English at CCI-LEX!

Nirmalasthuthi Menon is a bright, young man from India in our LEX Beginner class.  He shares about his past struggles and also the hope that he feels now while studying at CCI-LEX.  He hopes to complete his high school studies here in Canada! Please click on the video below to hear his story:

Ivan Velasquez is from Colombia and studies in our CCI Intermediate A class. He shared his story in front of a large crowd at our Annual General Meeting!  In his story, he shares his experience about family expectations and his goal to stay in the beautiful country of Canada. You can read Ivan’s story or watch a recording of it using the link’s below:

Carolina Giraldo is from the CCI Program and the Intermediate B class.  Since moving to Canada from Colombia, she has had her first baby and improved her English. Not only did she meet new friends and become independent, she also fulfilled her dreams of opening her own coffee business here in Edmonton! Although we don’t have a recording of Carolina’s story, you can read her full story of success on p17 of our Annual Report here:

2022 Annual Report



The Summer Celebration Returns

Face-painting, balloon animals, hotdogs and potato-sack races! 

It was a lovely summer day on July 15th where over a hundred students, staff and volunteers met at the Legislature bandshell for our annual Summer Celebration! Students brought their friends and families to join us for an amazing outdoor event to celebrate summer! It was a day to remember since our last celebration happened over two years ago!

The CCI-LEX Summer Celebration is always one of our biggest events of the year! Students brought their friends and family to the picnic and all guests enjoyed a delicious hot dog as well as a variety of other refreshing snacks! The ice cream, watermelon and pop helped us stay cool in the thirty degree weather. It was a magical moment seeing our students, volunteers and teachers all together, eating and gathering around the picnic tables again!

Our summer student, Sarah, led a fun potato-sack race for the children, with a few adults eventually joining the fun and games too!  After that, many rounds of soccer led to some amazing goals and teamwork between newly made friends! The fun didn’t stop here, with a long lineup of children waiting eagerly for the face painter!  Each face painting was unique, from proud Colombian flags to cool superheroes to beautiful butterflies!

Our amazing face painter was joined by our longtime friend, Choo Choo the clown, with his bright red nose and great sense of humor that brightened up everyone’s faces! His balloon creations were a fun addition to our party and left many children with a proud sword or colorful flower to take home for the day!

Thank you so much to all our volunteers who helped us set-up, clean-up and hand out refreshments during this event! We hope all volunteers, teachers and students enjoyed the celebration and we look forward to sharing more amazing memories with all of you!  You can see some photos from the party in this edition’s photo gallery!



Student and Teacher Stories

See the Student and Teacher Stories on the Our Stories Page of our website.

Coming from a culture where women are often limited in how they can express themselves, Jila turned to teaching as a way to get creative. Learn more about Jila’s fresh and unorthodox methods of learning and “making intangible things tangible”!

Read More

Johana was a CCI-LEX student that studied at CCI-LEX in 2019. After taking part in two of our CCI program classes she has now achieved her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse in Canada!  Read more about Johana’s experience with CCI-LEX below!

Read More

Upcoming Dates

CCI Program, New Term – August 29, 2022

LEX Program, New Term –  September 6, 2022

Winter Celebration – December 2, 2022


Listen and Read Along: Practice reading, listening and pronunciation by following along with these videos!


Dave’s ESL Cafe: This website provides information about grammar, word use, idioms, and more.



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