“It’s a passion of mine to speak a language. When you have the ability to speak a language, it’s not only being able to change words in text from English to French, Spanish or any other language you choose to study, but you also teach about culture and it’s a way to build bridges between people,” said Cassie West, French teacher.
Communication has always been major part of everyday life. According to the United States Census from 2011, 60,577,020 out of the 291,524,091 speak another language at home other than English and more than half, 37,579,787, speak Spanish. With these numbers continuing to grow, speaking another language will give bilingual citizens an upper hand.
Students at Leesville participating in a language class understand the importance of becoming bilingual and their capability as they continue to learn.
Reagan Norvell, Emma Holloway, and Abby Apostolico are just a three of the many passionate students at Leesville Road High School willing to learn a second language. Apostolico, a French student, said, “By the end of high school, I would like to travel to France and be able to speak French and understand the language.”
Following a similar dream, Holloway hopes to broaden her horizons and use the language more than she already does when at restaurants, school and home. She is excited to use it in an outside environment this summer while on a trip to Europe.
Norvell, like most, has fallen in love with the language and plans on minoring in Spanish while at college. “My goal is to learn it, use it, and apply it when I can.”
Before becoming a teacher, West worked a part time job at an Aquarium in Virginia. “You might think: When will I use French with the fish but a lot of tourists from Quebec, a French speaking area in Canada, came to the Aquarium had a hard time communicating with the people who worked there. All the signs and activities were in English. I was able to, on tours, use my French and answer questions and give information,” said West. West was able to communicate with a population no one, other than her, could give allowing her to connect with the tourists and allowing them to experience the aquarium properly.
Catherine Sollie, Spanish teacher, said, “After my first year of teaching I went with a friend of mine to Europe. While in Spain, I was able to connect with people there, who are still friends of mine, because I could speak the language and every time I travel, I try to learn new slang and incorporate it in my teachings.”
Language connects people everyday. As the world continues to grow, it has become more apparent that learning and mastering a second language will enable relations to grow between other people and countries. In Sollies Spanish class, students learn slang allowing them to keep up with the trends in a country and West stresses the importance of French, a language those don’t see as very popular. Some of her students have told her about their encounters at Goodberry’s, here in Raleigh, translating the menu for French speaking people.
America, and other countries are changing. Students at Leesville are well equipped with passionate teachers to ensure they evolve with it as language becomes more important.