“Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”

 John F. Kennedy


By Victoria Saldala

The Bilingual/ESOL Department has begun a series of initiatives to aid our immigrant students in sharing their amazing stories with the rest of the student population.

“Discovering Your Way: Leadership Through the Arts”, where 600 recently arrived foreign born students attended rotating workshop sessions with artists who spoke about  empowerment, student leadership, and the power of ingenuity making students “representatives of change” in their communities.

“Discovering Your Way: Family Reading Nights”, were offered to share family time at their local library while engaging in storytelling and enriching their vocabulary, in order to promote the love for reading.

“Discovering Your Way: STORYTECH: Everyone Has a Story. What’s Yours?”, is a fun interactive workshop for our immigrant students to help them create and edit a professional-quality video where they will share their stories.

You may also interested in Annual Parent Conference Bilingual ESOL

The culminating activity is “Rally to the Tally” Field Trip for New Americans. It is a four-day Civic educational program and college tour for 300 recently arrived immigrant students. This great initiative aims to foster confidence for active citizenship and raise awareness of the  American cultural values placed on education and community involvement for students.

Through university visits and youth summit, these students will learn about Florida’s higher education institutions, the basic themes in American democracy and the fundamental principles of republican government in the United States. They will have the opportunity to participate in this 4-day youth summit where they will identify issues in their community, research solutions, and create an agenda for action, which they will present to elected officials in the State capital. Many more exciting initiatives are in the works for our immigrant students before the 2014-2015 school year ends, such as the “27th Annual Conference on Children’s Literature,” 12th Annual Ashley Bryan Art Series,” and “Children’s Book Fest.”

Victoria Saldala, Director of the Bilingual/ESOL Department, has taken these initiatives with great passion.  As, she herself is a daughter of immigrant parents, she knows how difficult it can be for immigrant students to incorporate themselves and adapt to a culture that is totally different from theirs; the struggles that they encounter just by not speaking the language.  Ms. Saldala has made it a mission to have these student’s stories be heard and to give them an opportunity to experience what America is all about.

Sourse: Edition 25 Aldea Magazine

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