Language, Love, and Learning: Kevin’s Inspiring Graduation Story

May 1, 2023

Kevin is a recent graduate of the Industrial Maintenance Technology Program. He came to the United States from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2018. His English was limited. He spoke Lingala and French natively, but not English.

Over the past five years, Kevin has accomplished impressive feats and sacrificed so much to fulfill his goals. He worked a back-breaking full-time job in a meat slaughterhouse and attended ESL classes, moving quickly through the program with his own disciplined practice of learning English.

Even if I only had just three minutes in the parking lot, I would study my English vocabulary to improve every day, using every moment available.

Kevin Kayilu

To be accepted into the industrial maintenance program, Kevin worked hard to pass the Accuplacer math and reading tests. What an incredible accomplishment for someone who only recently learned English!

While studying full-time, working full-time, and getting little sleep, Kevin met Grace, who is now his wife. Together, they have Elho, Wonder-B, and Alexander, with Kevin still excelling in his classes and working full-time.

Kevin shows respect to everyone he meets–regardless of circumstances–, has a gentle kindness, an indomitable spirit, and is always willing to help others. These traits, along with his faith, love of family, and structured discipline, have led to Kevin’s academic success, culminating in his upcoming graduation with an Associate Degree in Industrial Maintenance Technology this year.

Kevin, I salute you and will always be inspired by you. It is a great privilege to know you and be your neighbor, teacher, and friend.

Ann Eads, ESL Instructor, Illinois Central College

Congratulations, Kevin!