Bilingual Students in Highland Park

Elsa Pedrosa, Staffer

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Imagine standing outside your house, saying goodbye to your friends, but then you cross the threshold and begin speaking in an entirely different language to your family. This has become second nature to you, but it took years of work. Bilingual means you can fluently speak two languages. It has been proven that languages are easier to learn if you start from a young age, so nearly all of our bilingual students here at Highland Park have parents who have taught them a different language since they were little.

Most people who are fluent in two languages learned because their parents were from a foreign country, and nearly all of them have been to that country. Going to different countries has opened up the eyes of many people and exposed them to different culture, which can be very healthy for those striving to respect all human beings. This is also part of the theory behind foreign language classes.

People who are bilingual, or even trilingual, should only take another language if they really want to, instead of being required. People who speak multiple languages have already been opened up to culture, and they can now communicate with more people, so why should we have to learn another language? Or is two not enough? I believe that bilingual students should only take another language if it is in their best interest.  

Coming from a country that speaks a different language than English can be useful when going into school. Victoria Cura, a freshman at HPHS, has parents both born and raised in Argentina, a country in South America whose native language is Spanish. From a young age Cura was taught Spanish, leading to her being fluent in the language. So although Cura is a freshman, she is enrolled into Spanish III Pre-AP, a class intended for Sophomores and some Juniors. This advantage includes Cura finishing her credits for a language years earlier than most of her peers.

Being bilingual obviously has advantages for educational purposes. It becomes easier to take classes, which can also affect their college experience. For example, if a student scores a 4 on the AP exam for Spanish, then they receive automatically 21.5 hours towards a Spanish minor upon entry into the University of Texas at Austin.

Highland Park School District is not exactly known for its diversity among the students of the schools, but what many people don’t realize is that many of the students who live in HPISD have parents who come from all over the world and invite many different cultures to what is commonly known as “The Bubble.” Latino, Asian, African and European cultures have all been embedded into HP thanks to families who step out of their world and into ours.

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