World languages enrich lives of Heights High students

A few of the bilingual students at Heights High. Back row, from left: Deyanna Bohanon, Faith Morris, Linden Wike and Hanae Chaffag; front row: Gwendolyn Wright, Max Tobehn, David Stewart, world languages department chair, and Kat Craps.

At Cleveland Heights High School, many students are preparing for success by becoming multilingual. Speaking more than one language can give students an advantage in employment, travel opportunities and the ability to connect to people from other cultures.

This is part of the school district’s vision: Preparing All Students for Success in a Global Economy (PASSAGE). This goal recognizes that the world is increasingly interconnected.

“Students who are learning more than one language are training their brains to recognize patterns in languages,” said David Stewart, chair of the world languages department. “That makes it easier for them to learn several languages.” Stewart is also one of the American Sign Language (ASL) teachers.

For some of the multi-lingual students, English is their mother tongue, but they are intrigued with learning about the cultures and languages of other countries. Some students have moved here from another country and learned English as a second language, while others are exchange students for a year.

The world languages department includes ASL, French, Spanish and a small Chinese class that will build as more Chinese language learners arrive from the middle schools.

Here are some of the multi-lingual students at Heights High:

  • Deyanna Bohanon is studying Spanish and French and enjoys learning words that mean the same thing in different languages.
  • Aiwyn Brock likes learning the similar roots of words in different languages and especially likes learning those words that are very different from English.
  • Hanae Chaffag was born in Morocco and is fluent in Arabic, French and English. She is now studying Spanish. She feels that being fluent in several languages will open opportunities for her.
  • Linden Wike is studying French and Spanish and is intrigued with the evolution of languages. Her mother is a French professor and Linden has been exposed to different languages and cultures all her life.
  • Max Tobehn is an exchange student from Germany who also speaks Dutch and is studying French and Spanish. He enjoys making friends from other countries.
  • Faith Morris is studying French and ASL. She is drawn to the beauty of languages such as the sound of French words and the movement of hands while signing.
  • Jenna Dent is studying French and ASL. She is interested in traveling and communicating with people from different cultures.
  • Kat Craps is an exchange student from Belgium. She speaks Dutch, French and English fluently, and is studying Spanish. She says it is fun to learn about the cultures of different people.

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 11:14 AM, 04.30.2015