School district acknowledges English learners

June 20, 2011 7:14:09 PM PDT
If you've ever had to learn a second language, you know it's not easy. So for the past 12 years, the West Contra Costa School District has acknowledged students who, after years of trying, finally became proficient in English.

There are a number of students, once considered English language learners, that are now part of the mix -- fluent and proficient like any other kid born in the U.S. The West Contra Costa Unified School District makes exiting the bilingual program a bid deal.

Hector Roman-Duarte, a 5th grader, speaks only Spanish at home and had to work hard to master the English language. As part of the district's reclassification process, Hector wrote a paper on how being part of two cultures makes him a better person.

"I want to be a bilingual lawyer because it's not just the money, but I want to help Latino and American people that are in crisis with immigration," said Roman-Duarte.

Other students wrote about their heroes who have inspired or helped them learn the language.

"Learning was really hard because I tried to say things the way they sound in Portuguese," said Laura Ovelar, a 7th grader.

Fortunately, Ovelar got help from a friend in school who also spoke Portuguese.

"If I had a question about a word that I didn't understand or I didn't know how to pronounce, she would tell me everything," said Ovelar.

That friend, named Samantha, was by Laura's side at the reclassification ceremony.

There are 10,000 English learners in the district. This year 900 exited the program. They had to be tested in English language proficiency and score well in the English language arts portion of the STAR test.

"And at the same time they had to learn their grade level content, in English, their new language, so that is really no easy feat," said Susan Dunlap from the District.

The district also acknowledges the work parents put in towards their children's education.

"My mother and father are an inspiration to me, every day of my life," said Adesuwa Aigbuza.

Aigbuza is from Nigeria. Her parents moved to California to help further her education.

"I'm so glad that they're my parents and stuff. I hope to be like them when I grow up," said Aigbuza.

Being reclassified is a great achievement for any student and a proud moment for any parent.

Load Comments