From Greece to Myrtle Beach: a personal reflection on International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day was celebrated on Sunday as part of National Literacy Month, which takes place throughout September.

For Angela Panos, English is her second language. She moved to Myrtle Beach from Greece a few years ago. When she came to the U.S., she only had four English words in her vocabulary.

Panos said it was a challenge for her to do simple things like write a check, get a driver's license, or to even understand a funny joke.

These small challenges motivated Panos to make a big change in her life, so Panos went to the Horry County Literacy Council to get a better grasp of reading and writing the English language.

"We started with very basics, A-B-C's. So after awhile, I started taking the exams, small tests, and I was feeling the sense of progress, and that's an amazing feeling," Panos said.

At this time, Panos has moved far past the English fundamentals. She has taken courses at Horry Georgetown Technical College, including Western Civilization, Algebra, and Public Speaking. She will be taking American History this fall. Eventually, Panos aspires to get her college degree, all while working at Comfort Keepers and managing the property she owns with her husband in Litchfield.

Panos says she owes all of her success to her helpful tutors at the Literacy Council, and she encourages others to use the valuable resource if English is their second language or if they want to learn fundamental reading skills.

774 million of the world's adults do not know how to read or write, and two thirds of that number are women.