Published: Dec 15, 2011 9:12 PM EST
Updated: Dec 15, 2011 9:14 PM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - Hodges University held graduation ceremonies on Thursday for their Intensive English classes in Collier County.

The English as a Second Language (ESL) graduation ceremony was attended by the graduates and members of their families.  WINK News anchor Lois Thome gave the keynote address at the Collier County ceremony.

According to Leisha Klentzeris, Director of the ESL program at Hodges, the ESL graduation is an emotional event. "Our ESL students work very hard and are dedicated to learning the English language, helping them achieve a variety of personal goals."

Students currently enrolled in the program hail from over 20 different countries, and often use the ESL program to matriculate into other classes at Hodges. For this term, nearly 500 students are enrolled in the intensive program.