Francisco grew up in the small city of Zaragoza outside of San Salvador, El Salvador. He graduated high school, married, and was working at a soda company making deliveries when he decided he wanted more from life. He and his wife decided to join extended family in Washington, D.C. in search of a better life.

When they first came to the U.S. in 2013, neither knew much English and felt confused by all the newness they experienced. After being in the U.S. for two weeks Francisco took a job as a dishwasher at a local restaurant chain making minimum wage running between the first floor kitchen and the second floor dishwashing machine eight hours a day.

Both husband and wife enrolled in English classes at the Carlos Rosario School. Francisco started in Orientation B, which teaches beginning level English with comprehensive native language supports.

As Francisco progressed through the English classes, he also took on more advanced jobs like bar back that required deeper interactions with customers and co-workers. In this position he took on more responsibility pushing himself to study the ins and outs behind the bar. While in ESL 5 Francisco became a bartender where he was putting his English skills to work every day. Others at the restaurant started noticing his improved English. And Francisco says he also benefitted from a director and a bar manager, Adam and Lucy, who supported his studies and helped him polish his English. Today as a bartender Francisco makes a comfortable living wage and is able to save more.

Living in El Salvador Francisco never imagined he would become a bartender but now he sees that as a viable career path for the future. He would like to learn more about drinks to become more knowledgeable in his craft.

This enterprising student is also proud to support his six brothers and sisters and his mom back home. He sends money to his family regularly and has helped his siblings buy essentials like shoes and clothing. He wanted to thank Sonia Gutierrez, Carlos Rosario School Founder, for giving him and his classmates the opportunity to learn English and grow.

See Francisco’s story in his own words.