A number of students who speak English as their second or third language had the opportunity to pair up with English-first speakers through a program Mrs. Arnold started this year called ESL Buddies program. Students in Latin and Spanish classes met with their buddies once or twice a month to boost their language skills and help with making friends at the high school.
This experience has helped many Avonworth students grow and become better people too. Sophomore Yasmine Lima is a student in French class but is fluent in Spanish because her Grandparents are from Brazil and speak Portuguese which is very similar to Spanish.
“It’s helped me grow as a person and taught me skills and cultural practices from other cultures,” said Yasmine. She finds the program extremely helpful and beneficial to her.
Junior Jordan Dawley felt similarly. “It has improved language skills and helped me to become a better, more helpful, and accepting person.”
Lucas Garcia, pictured with his sister Veronica, is a junior at Avonworth in the ESL buddies program. Originally from Mexico, he as well as Yasmine, speak fluent Spanish.
Lucas finds the activities of the buddies program, which included playing a massive card game of “Spoons”, to be extremely beneficial in bringing everyone together. “Spoons brought people together,” said Lucas, who said he would consider a career that would help ESL students.
The ESL buddies program is beneficial for the new students as it helps them feel more comfortable and accepted in this new environment. The ESL buddies program is also extremely beneficial to the students at Avonworth that are native English speakers as it has helped them to build their language skills and their people skills.
“I become friends with a few kids in the program and it help me build a bunch of skills, compassion, making people feel comfortable” said Jack Hustwit, a junior in Spanish classes. “These kids are some of the nicest kids I’ve met.”
For Mrs Arnold, the positives are also noticable. “It has been such a joy to have students from new parts of the world join our school community. I have been so lucky to work with all of the students, English and non-English natives alike, who participated in this program. It makes all of our backyards just a little bigger.”