Barrett gift provides Speaking and Listening Skills courses at WVC

April 22, 2022

Media Contact:
Rachel Evey, foundation executive director, 509-682-6415
Libby Siebens, community relations executive director, 509-682-6436 (Mon.-Thurs.)

Ford Barrett, in memory of his wife Marlys, made an initial investment of $30,000 to provide Speaking and Listening Skills courses as part of the Wenatchee Valley College Transitional Studies program. 

The WVC Transitional Studies program offers adult basic education classes, including five levels of English for native and non-native English speakers. The classes are designed to improve reading, writing, speaking, listening and grammar. A recent self-evaluation for the department found that students needed the most help with speaking and listening skills.

“These skills are the areas identified by nearly all of our students as their main point of struggle,” said Riva Morgan, associate dean of transitional studies and workforce grants. “Speaking and listening skills also require the most time and practice when learning a second language.”

The skills courses began spring quarter. They are offered as supplemental classes for students to practice the speaking and listening skills that they learn in their core English Language Arts classes. The goal is to provide students with more opportunities to practice their skills, build confidence, progress through classes in fewer quarters, and reach college and career readiness more quickly.

Ford Barrett made the gift in memory and honor of his wife, Marlys, who passed away in August 2021. Marlys was an English educator at WVC and understood how crucial literacy was for students. She demonstrated support beyond the classroom and formal learning by providing personal speaking and listening practice for students. Marlys was also a founding creator of the Hispanic orchard employee education program (HOEEP) at WVC.

"Marlys saw a strong relationship between a person's skill and comfort in reading and speaking in English with their ability to complete academic programs,” said Barrett. “Encouraging literacy was an extremely important step to ensure student success.”

To learn more about the WVC foundation or to make a gift, visit


The WVC Foundation was incorporated in 1971. The foundation’s mission is to provide equitable access to education and invest in student success through philanthropy. For information on how to make a gift to the foundation, establish a scholarship or include the WVC Foundation in your estate plans, contact (509) 682-6410. Visit the WVC Foundation website at

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