NCC faculty member reflects on her years in the Peace Corps
by Myra Saturen ,
Dr. Letitia Lladoc brings a world of experience to her English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Northampton Community College's Monroe Campus.
As a college student at Marywood University, Lladoc heard President John F. Kennedy say: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." Inspired by those words, Lladoc, a Stroudsburg native, eagerly joined the fledgling Peace Corps, teaching TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in the Philippines from 1964 to 1968. Her father, a social studies teacher, and her mother, a "strong female role model," encouraged her decision.
Lladoc's two-year commitment to the Peace Corps stretched to fifteen years of living and working in the Philippines. She met and married her late husband, Jesse Lladoc, the deputy governor of Leyte Province, who won election as vice-mayor and then mayor of Ormoc City, making Letitia the city's first lady. She taught psychology and English at St. Peter's College, and after earning her master's degree in counseling from the University of the Philippines, opened a family counseling center.
When President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law, the couple and their two children left the Philippines, settling in Letitia's hometown, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. She taught psychology and sociology at Pocono Mountain High School, where she also initiated a peer support program, taught ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, and developed in-service diversity programs for teachers, administrators and staff. At age sixty, she completed a doctorate in education at Bern University in St. Kipps. She has been an adjunct professor at Gratz College in Melrose Park, Pennsylvania, and at Trenton State College (now the College of New Jersey) as well as at Northampton.
Lladoc traces her life's remarkable trajectory back to her Peace Corps experience. "All I have done has hinged on that 1964 decision," she says. Lladoc's love of the Peace Corps, enthusiasm for ESL and fascination with international understanding has remained with her more than fifty years later.
Lladoc is an unflagging, passionate advocate of the Peace Corps, for people of all ages. She notes that some parents voice reluctance at letting their daughters and sons join the Peace Corps. "Young people are safer as Peace Corps volunteers than they would be driving on Route 611," Lladoc says. She urges older adults to look into the Peace Corps too. "There is no upper age limit," she says.