Teacher bridges language gap for migrant students

Even before they fully comprehend her words, Gracie Dials' students understand that she cares.
Annie Zelm
Sep 30, 2011


Even before they fully comprehend her words, Gracie Dials’ students understand that she cares.

They see it in her warm smile and the way she gathers them all around the table, inviting them to share as much as they can. They feel it when she spends time with each of them individually, coaching them through word problems and quizzing them on foreign-sounding terms like “mitochondria” as they try to master the parts of a cell.

They’re assured of her concern when she calls their parents at home, just to check in.

And once they get to know her, they’ll confide in her about their toughest subjects outside of school. For more than 13 years, Dials has worked as a bilingual aide, tutoring children of migrant workers during study hall at Willard Middle School.

She never knows how long they’ll stay or if she’ll see them again — several this year will be headed back to their hometowns in Texas, Flordia or Mexico — but she’s known some since they were in kindergarten.

They often return year after year with the harvest as their parents follow the jobs on the farm. These junior high students have dreams of becoming doctors, detectives, and professional soccer players, but they struggle to overcome language barriers and cultural differences.

Read more about this special students and their ambitions in Friday's Register.



no dought thier illegals. IF she cares so much ship her back to Mexico and teach them there.


"They often return year after year..." & "These junior high students..."

so they come here every year, and are probably in many other states other than ohio for longer periods, yet they speak little or no english!


 Are theses students American citizens? When did it become the responsibility of taxpayers to house, feed and educate migrant workers and their kids? The entitlement just never ends.


Ahh... And the bigots come out to play. "Brown" does not equal illegal. Bilingual does not equal illegal. Boneheaded bigots who can't even spell... should be illegal.


SASH must be illegal or a PC person. Give them your S S # you can feed them.


Just Makes Sense-  Ouchie! That hurt...not! Sorry to burst your balloon, but my ancestors landed not too long after the pilgrims landed. Then again, my family tree does have at least one Native American in it so I suppose that little bit of "brown" blood leaves me "tarnished" in your eyes. And by PC, I assume you mean perfectly cognizant...thank you. If you would bother to do a little research, you'd find that the majority of migrant workers are citizens, legal residents or part of worker programs. Citizens and legal residents pay taxes, and nonresident workers in the U.S. longer than 183 days pay taxes. Perhaps even more importantly, the farmers who use migrant labor are paying taxes which fund the schools. I'm betting they pay more into the schools than you do. Are some illegal? I would bet money on it, but I'm not willing to condemn all on the actions of a few. But go ahead and eliminate migrant workers. I'm sure you can afford produce prices to double and triple and... Not everyone "brown" is the enemy.


Bigot - A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions or prejudices; especially one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred or intolerance.

beat michigan

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Thanks I see my error....How about you. You see your air, suporting people stealing our SS..... Maybe you can take your pefect spelling and go to MEXICO


Gracias veo mi error .... ¿Y usted. Usted ve a su aire, suporting personas que roban nuestra SS ..... Tal vez usted puede tener la ortografía pefect e ir a MEXICO




¿Es usted del sur? En primer lugar, aprender a deletrear. I «duda» de que se puede hablar Engish mejor que estos niños. ¿Está usted en la Armada? ¿Es usted homosexual? Me siento mal por sus tropas, que han perdido sus vidas en la guerra, pero usted es uno que debería haber muerto. Patético.

beat michigan

Oh, I forgot one....'their'.....

Does the armed services accept high school dropouts?  I have been on this sight once in my life. You obviously have nothing else to do.  Are you unemployed?  Are you on medicaid?  No wonder you are concerned about our federal tax dollars. Perhaps you can save enough money and expense your own individual GED.

beat michigan

oooooops...I stated 'armed services'. I meant the 'navy'.


I do not support illegals being in my country, however, these are children. They have to go with the parents. I know that when I visit a foreign country, I do not understand their language, so I can see these children not understanding English. Now,,,,,In the article, it states that some will be heading back to their hometowns in Texas, Florida, and Mexico. If their hometowns are in Florida and Texas, why don't they speak English? If these children are from Mexico, or illegals, then the farmer who hires them should have to subsidize their education.

All I can say I hope they take your jobs, SS and your ID. For the people that don't know PC........................ its POLITICAL CORRECT PEOPLE. You know the stupid people that will cry the blues when they take your sh**

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grandmasgirl, with all due respect, you're wrong. I appreciate your sympathy for the children of illegal aliens since you're right: They DO obviously travel with their parents. But would you ever argue in favor of children keeping the money their daddy stole from a bank? Even if the money would really, really help? Of course not! How's it any different, then, that some of THESE children are benefitting from the crime(s) committed by their parents?

If these children are here illegally, they should be deported (along with Mom and  Dad, of course). If they're here LEGALLY, the ONLY schooling they should be getting is intensive English until they're ready to mainstream into regular classes. The job of a teacher is hard enough. Why make them deal with students that don't even speak the language?

And lest someone like Sash accuses ME of racism or excessive nationalism, allow me to volunteer the fact that I attended high school in a foreign country. I did not have an interpreter. No such services were offered, and I certainly didn't think I was entitled to one! I did get some private math tutoring for a short time to enable me to catch up with my classmates (less a function of the language, frankly, than of the fact that American schools are a long way behind those in some other countries), but nothing else. And while I lived there, I not only learned to speak their language in their schools, but in their stores, on their streets, and in their homes.

Want to live and work here? Enter the country legally, and MAINSTREAM YOURSELF, the same way immigrants USED to do (you know, the ones who actually DID help make this country great). Anything short of that should disqualify you from residency. Period.

Captain Gutz


Was this high school you attended in Canada or England?


Good job SAMADAMS these peeps are so programed they won't understand until they are taken over........ They are worried about spelling right now...............LOL


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Muchos gracias!

I can't pretend to be unhappy that now all of the illegals who might chance upon my comments will now also thoroughly understand how a legitimate American who still respects the Constitution speaks. :-)

And to a certain segment of the rest of you: JustMakesSense is right. If you can't read what he posted in Spanish, better bone up. The far left is going to do all that it can to ensure that AMERICANS are the minority in their own country, and that we bend over backwards to accommodate pretty much everybody else. What's next, we all swear up one side and down the other that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism? Oh, wait...our illustrious President Obumbles is already working that tack.


To Sam Adams: Trying to immigrate legally is extremely difficult !! A relative of mine had a family member staying with her on a visitor's visa. He tried every way possible to apply for legal immigration, or a work visa, even employing a lawyer. He is educated and has a clean record. He was denied the opportunity to apply for immigration or even for a work visa without a record of having a job with a company that is INC. The job offer he had was with a small unincorporated group. The INS told him that the only people that they will allow to apply for legal status is if they are married to an American citizen, have a job skill that we cannot fill from within, or political asylum. So how does a person who wants to be here legally go about it ???


The guy should have seen the sign at the border that said "We're full. Please call again later"

DREAMER 61 Everyone wants to come to the US.............With that said we need to figure out what to do with all the illegal's estimated 12-20 million we have.......crimes are great on both sides of the fence citizens and illegal's............Why no work..................Now you ask why no one is allowed to come in please get real.......

To Just Makes Sense -  Sam Adams said - "Want to live and work here? Enter the country legally, and MAINSTREAM YOURSELF, the same way immigrants USED to do (you know, the ones who actually DID help make this country great). Anything short of that should disqualify you from residency. Period." This was my answer to that statement. Many people say over and over again " if you want to come to the US, do it legally !! How do they do that ?????


Well first ya wait till we have a need for more people. At this time, we do not. We are at a constant high level of unemployment. Government services are strained to the breaking point. So the person trying to enter the country legally is not needed here.

If and when the economy improves, I would suggest they try and enter the country legally then.

Is that a better answer?


Dreamer61: Why are you under the impression that legal immigration should be EASY?? In my opinion, legal immigration should be difficult. ILLEGAL immigration should be IMPOSSIBLE.

That being said, legal immigration might become at least a little easier for people as qualified as the one you describe if we weren't hopelessly overburdened by those who don't think the law applies to them! (And who are, unfortunately, proved all too often right about that as the federal government effectively refuses to be bothered with real enforcement of border security.)


Just makes sense & Sam Adams:

Thanks for reminding me of how uneducated I am. At the time I was in school, we had a choice between French and Spanish. I chose the wrong one (French). Now, I am not saying that I am for illegals. I agree that we should send the whole family back. However, in this country where everyone is afraid of offending everyone, it is not going to happen. I just saw on the news that a drug cartell boss's wife just gave birth to a child in the U.S. That means that this woman and man drug pushers from Mexico have a child legally born in the states. Makes it easier for them to access the U.S.


grandmasgirl: Uneducated? No. Naive? Maybe. Compassionate? Certainly. The point, of course, isn't that you are or are not any of those things. The bottom line is whether or not we think crime should be rewarded. I suspect that you and I are both in agreement that it should not be. The problem is that too many seem to forget that illegal immigration is (wait for it...) ILLEGAL.

Just FYI, there is an ongoing legislative movement to make it clear that US citizenship is reserved for the children of US citizens, no matter where a baby happens to be born. Conversely, it would not automatically confer citizenship on children simply because, either by accident or an active criminal act, they happened to be born inside our borders. Too bad the law hasn't already been passed, eh?


this has been going on all day we might as well quit writing, they dont get it. Hope they get thier Idenity stolen........

Go travel through Mexico; you will see it is far different than the USA. They have stops and checkpoints and you maybe searched; it is far more difficult to travel through “undocumented”   Mexico had been on watchdog list for years for their poor treatment of illegals and irregulars.   Mexico does not offer free education, free healthcare, welfare, or amnesty for those not legally there. First time jail for 2 years, next time up to 10 years. The Mexico army is used to help round up those not legally in Mexico. At anytime any foreigner can be booted out for any reason whatsoever, no right to process.   To obtain Mexican citizenship (outside birth) you have to prove you will be viable to Mexico and not a burden. Only the US fails to see how much illegal immigration cost.   Seems ironic that Mexico treats illegals there like crap, and at the same time sues the USA so that America has to take illegals; house them, educate them, give them welfare, jobs, and amnesty. Something Mexico has never done for the undocumented in their own country. Seems like the pot calling the kettle black.   At least come here legally and be productive. I always thought it was crappy that floor supervisors in Texas facility have to speak Spanish; you came here for opportunity so learn English. Hablan ingles o morir

gilamonster  I did my homework....................Speak english or die.................That was a good write 


*amn!!!   Those farmers who get subsidized with cheap labour (Mexicans) should really be grateful we taxpayers foot the bill.       Why in *ell do PAC groups hold so much sway in D.C.?    Wonder how they vote?            Oh, I grew up around them & know.  

Amythe K

 Haa Sash I was reading and thinking the same thing! 

Amythe K

 Gracie Dials, Thank you for helping bring us closer together.

AJ Oliver

   So it's OK to punish kids for what you THINK MAY BE the sins of their parents?  Seriously?  Now that is vicious.

   There are lots of US citizens in the southwestern U.S. whose first language is Spanish.  They were there first - by several centuries.  My wife's family in Huron spoke very little English for more than fifty years.  And during that time they too were denounced by nativist, ethno-centric, no-nothings like you. 

   If you're going to beat up on some person or group, at least have the courage and common decency to use your own name.  It's just too easy to be an anonymous coward. 

   Shame on you. 


11.20 an hour? I mean, I wouldnt pick strawberrys all day in the heat and rain for 5 an hour when I can flip burgers in the AC for 7, but for 11.20 an hour Id pick anything. Heck id pick the mexicans noses while they were pickin strawberrys. Send these people from the couchs straight to the fields. America needs to get back to the basics of working for a living! Real work! Not, suit and tie work.. Stop taking our jobs Mexicans! Were ready to work now!.... Right after I finish this last level of World of Warcraft



This woman has dedicated her career to helping CHILDREN and you sit here and turn this article into a bigot discussion about Hispanic illegal immigrants while attacking these children and their struggles to better their lives, to obtain an education, and learn the English language.

Clearly you did not read the article before jumping to the computer to post your hypocritical comments. Not all of these children are immigrants, actually many are American citizens who have lived here for years, others come from several states within the United States. Please tell me where this article says that these are illegal "Mexicans" sneaking across the border?

As I read this article my heart was warmed by these children's stories and I have never been more proud of any teacher within Willard City Schools. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I decided to read the comments expecting to see many giving Mrs. Dials praise for her compassionate work, but instead I am sickened by all the hatred I read.

Every morning I drive by the fields and see many workers already hard at work, 14 hrs later I pass by to see them still working in the fields. Rain or shine the work is done. Many of these men and women are migrant workers, not all. Actually my mother, who is Caucasian, worked the fields as a teenager. This is back breaking, dirty, intense labor that most would rather sit and collect their welfare check than work for what little the muck pays. They leave loved ones behind, travel here & live in whatever housing is available in order to make what little they can only to send back to help support their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, children, etc, because unlike American culture, Hispanics take pride in the family unit.

Many who share your idealism accuse these migrants of stealing you jobs, and I say to you how is it stealing if it was never yours? How many of you have actually driven to the farms & applied to work in the fields for the wages offered? And of course you may cling to your "cheap labor" argument but I tell you if I was in financial strain facing welfare, unemployment, living in metro housing, etc like most of these Willard citizens I would be out working anywhere I could making whatever was offered without a complaint. However, as Americans, many are genetically given this sense of entitlement and would rather sit at home on their couch collecting every bit of government aid while bitching about how some "illegal Mexican stole" our job.

And, I am left wondering why now? Why when we have chosen to honor and praise our teachers for going above and beyond do you feel the need to dirty it with your bigotry? And as America is the "Melting Pot" I ask you to remember just how it was that your family landed here in this wonderful country as I am sure many of you are not Native Americans, or is it ok to be hypocritical and forget that part of our history as we were all at one point immigrants.

Finally, Just Makes Sense, your comments are disgraceful. Do you know this teacher whom you so quickly disrespect? For you are so knowledgeable that because her skin is not as light as yours and she happens to speak Spanish that she MUST be from MEXICO and we should "SHIP HER BACK." You are by far the worst of them all and may God himself have mercy on you.