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April 12th 2011 was an historic day for ELS Johor Bahru; American Ambassador Jones honored us with his present at the launching of the ACCESS Microscholarship Program. ACCESS provides a foundation in English language skills to disadvantaged students through after-school classes and intensive English language activities. Other dignitaries who attended the celebration included Kamarudzaman bin Addul Mubin, Deputy Director Johor State Education Department, and Asiah Ahmed, DGM of PNB Commercial.

The festivities started well before the arrival of the guests as the centre was suitably decorated in the “red, white and blue” of America. At 3.30 the ACCESS students arrived, full of expectation and excitement at the thought of meeting the ambassador. At 4.05, word was received that the ambassador’s car was approaching Menara Pelangi; full of anticipation everyone waited. Miss Chee, the CEO of ELS, and other representatives formally welcomed the ambassador in the foyer. At 4.15 Ambassador Jones arrived at the centre and was given a short tour of the facilities.

The arrival of the ambassador was announced by Zeti Aziz, Manager of Corporate Training and Special Projects ELS, to the sound of loud applause from the students and invited guests. The atmosphere was electric. Robert Brander, Vice President of Operations delivered the opening remarks, followed by Ambassador Jones address. The students sat and listened excitedly to what was being said. Ambassador Jones encouraged the students to successfully complete their English studies. He added that by enhancing their English language, Access students would be more competitive to participate in U.S. exchange programs. These words delighted the attendees. Next, the ambassador presented the students with their certificates. It was a wonderful moment as each proud participant got their photo taken with the ambassador. Following this highlight, light refreshments were served. The visit ended with a group photo taking session, which allowed Ambassador Jones the opportunity to interact and speak with some of the participants. A short video in which the students got to participate was also recorded. All too quickly it came time for the ambassador to leave. This is a visit that the ACCESS students will never forget!