5th graders at Park Elementary School and Paradise Valley Elementary School have earned the Pathway Award for the Seal of Biliteracy.

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That's according to Natrona County School District Director of Public Relations, Tonya Southerland.

A press release from the school district stated that "The 3rd Annual Seal of Biliteracy Pathway Award Celebration was held on May 27, 2021, with students, staff, and families in attendance to celebrate the outstanding accomplishment and wish the students well in their future endeavors. A combined 45 students earned the Pathway Award for having demonstrated excellence in multiple languages."

Throughout the ceremony, various students shared their thoughts on the importance of bilingualism and what it means to them:

“Being bilingual is very important when it comes to communication because if you are bilingual then it is easier to communicate with people around the world because most languages are connected. For example, “social” is the same in Spanish as it is in English, and the word “gato” in Spanish (cat) is the same as it is in Latin. Communication is important when you need to go somewhere or just in everyday life. Another reason why communication is important is because things all around the world are happening, things good and terribly bad, so by communicating we can all talk, think together and make the world a better place.” ~ Emalyne - Park Elementary 

“Bilingualism is very important. It's a window of opportunity for humans. It's extremely important to myself, the community, and especially to the world. Being bilingual has so many awesome benefits. There are so many good blessings to being bilingual. Here are only a few eye-opening benefits from being bilingual. Being bilingual is super vital to myself. I feel that it helped me be more creative and more intelligent with my choices. I learned new cultures and met new people along the way, who are now my closest friends. I feel more independent and that I have more faith in myself and in the people around me. Being bilingual has helped me be so much more successful. I see the world in a totally different, but a more beautiful light now.” ~ Mila - Park Elementary 

“I love being able to speak another language because it allows me to speak with people who also know a different language. This is a great way to get to know more people and prepare me for my future. Bilingualism can help in many ways. For you and everyone else, being bilingual can create opportunities and bring people together. Being bilingual is good for me personally. First of all, it helps my brain grow. It helps exercise my brian when I have to speak in a different language. This helps my brain get better at problem solving, creativity and critical thinking. Also, being bilingual will help me get a better resume for college. I want to get into a good college so being bilingual will help me achieve that goal. Finally, it will help me get jobs later on in life. I would like to have a fun job and being bilingual will give me more opportunities and choices. Most importantly, I can speak to other people that speak mandarin! I hope to go to China and use my skill to communicate with people there.” - Joseph - Paradise Valley Elementary 

"The dual language immersion program helps spread more knowledge of the Chinese culture and language. With our schools program, people from other countries will feel welcome and that our doors open for whoever. People from China and Taiwan come to our community because they know that they can improve their English here and still communicate in Chinese. In my community, the Nic Art Museum lets my school share our cultural art pieces with the world.  They let us do our Chinese New Year performances and display our Chinese art in 5th grade. Due to the dual language program, I am able to create art pieces in two languages. Biliteracy is important to the world because we need it for communication. If someone from the American Government were meeting with someone from the Chinese Government to find a time to meet up, they would have to use biliterate skills to communicate. They could meet up without any problems. Bilerate people are also able to understand each other better. People will understand the true meanings of what someone is writing, instead of misinterpreting it. Without understanding, the world would be mumbo jumbo. ~ Madison - Paradise Valley Elementary 

According to the press release the Dual Language Immersion is a parent-choice program that begins in Kindergarten at the following schools: Paradise Valley Elementary School (Mandarin Chinese), Park Elementary School (Spanish), and Verda James Elementary School (Spanish).

Following graduation from grade school, the DLI program continues into middle school at CY Junior High School (Mandarin Chinese) and Dean Morgan Junior High (Spanish). Students must be enrolled in the elementary program beginning in Kindergarten in order to continue in junior high.

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