Local Our People

New York’s First ‘English Under the Arches’ Graduation

Graduating Class

McDonald’s New York Tri-State recently celebrated the first ‘English Under the Arches’ graduation in New York since the launch of Archways to Opportunity last April. Thirteen employees with the Kaufman Organization from Suffolk County, Long Island were recognized by supervisors and colleagues for successfully completing the first eight-week course of the program. The students came from Mexico, Central and South American countries and range in age from their early 30′s to early 60′s.

The newest graduates of ‘English Under the Arches’ are:

  • Maria Barrera, 42, Farmingville, NY
  • Cesar Bernal Rios, 38, Middle Island, NY
  • Paula Bravo, 61, Farmingville, NY
  • Lila Correa, 33, Patchogue, NY
  • Ana Gonzalez, 33, Mastic, NY
  • Maria Gonzalez, 53, Mastic, NY
  • Patricia Gonzalez, 39, Medford, NY
  • Janneth Leon, 51, Patchogue, NY
  • Rosario Lituma, 46, Patchogue, NY
  • Eleuteria Mejia, 42, Farmingville, NY
  • Maria Reyes, 47, East Patchogue, NY
  • Santos Velasquez, 40, Central Islip, NY
  • Juana Zhumi, 46, Patchogue, NY

Stephanie Bellew, a 2015 Ray Kroc Award Winner, was the keynote speaker at the graduation. Bellew is among the top 1% of McDonald’s restaurant managers worldwide to receive the prestigious award named after the founder of the Golden Arches.

Cesar Bernal Rios (employee)

“’English Under the Arches’ has been a wonderful experience,” said Eleuteria Mejia, a McDonald’s crew trainer in Farmingville who has been with the Kaufman Organization for 11 years. “I want to thank my owner-operator and the McDonald’s corporation for giving me the opportunity to learn new things.”

“Archways to Opportunity is a fantastic program that I encourage all my employees to take part in,” said Josh Kaufman, a McDonald’s franchisee who owns and operates the restaurants where the graduates work. “We are proud to support them in their goals, wherever they may be in their educational journey.”

‘English Under the Arches’ is just one component of Archways to Opportunity, the McDonald’s workforce education program that supports employees across the country in earning their high school diploma, pursuing a college degree or learning English. For more information, please visit here.


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