Ohio Program of Intensive English honors 176 students for language proficiency in its first graduation ceremony

Saif Al Wahaibi speaks about his experiences in the OPIE program at the graduation ceremony Wednesday (Seth Archer | For The Post)

The Ohio Program of Intensive English held its first graduation ceremony Wednesday afternoon in the Baker Center Ballroom.

OPIE, which was founded in 1967, offers classes to students to improve their English proficiency or who need to improve their English skills prior to starting a degree program, according to its website.

“We really wanted to honor the students … their achievements,” said OPIE director Gerard Krzic. “We’ve always had celebrations … but never a formal graduation ceremony.”

Enrolled students can either participate in a full-time program consisting of 20 hours of work per week or a part-time program consisting of either 12 or eight hours of work per week.

Students are also immersed in American culture through various activities.

“This is something new to recognize and also to encourage our students who are still in the program,” said Holly DeLong, a lecturer who has worked with OPIE for five years.

Wednesday’s ceremony honored 176 students who completed the program during the 2013 Spring, Summer and Fall Semesters.

Only 12 graduates were able to attend the ceremony due to conflicts with classes. Many students often enroll at different universities after completing OPIE, but the exact number wasn’t available by press time.

Students who attended were given roughly five minutes to make a speech before lining up to cross the stage, where they received a certificate of completion.

Unlike most graduation ceremonies, OPIE’s graduation ceremony was held in February because it takes some time to get the results of the test required to pass before graduating.

“We don’t have classes during finals week,” said Kristina Guyton, the social-cultural activities coordinator at OPIE. “Our international students often go home … right after we’re done.”

OPIE plans on holding another graduation ceremony next February.


This article originally ran in print under the headline: "English proficiency recognized in OPIE graduation ceremony"

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