GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -- A new program in District 51, which prepares students for the global workforce by increasing proficiency in foreign languages, honored its first set of students Tuesday night.
Colorado is one of only ten states to offer a Seal of Biliteracy in schools. This is District 51's first year offering the distinction, with 45 students involved district-wide.
“I feel like it opens a lot of opportunities in life, like career life,” said Dual Immersion Academy fifth-grader Chloe Leane.
It's a curriculum that students at any school are able to participate in, they just have to put in the work.
There's a written test portion, which vary in lengths and difficulty based on grade level. There is also a presentation and a community service component. Everything must be done in both languages.
“My science project was about hydroelectric energy and I did it all in Spanish for my Seal of Biliteracy. It helped me clarify some terms and words that I didn't really know in Spanish,” said Annika Walla, a fifth grader at the Dual Immersion Academy.
The program is available at the fifth-, eighth- and 12th-grade levels, but some students said the earlier the better.
One student compared it to acrobatics and athletics.
"You need to start at a young age so you can get a lot of practice in until you get into the big leagues,” said Willa Henderson, a fifth grader participating the program as well.
Fifth-grade student Mia DeVillegas-Decker said it's best to learn as soon as possible.
“Yo me gusta espanol porque es muy fluido y tiene un buen sonido y puede affective mi future in a manera positive,” said DeVillegas-Decker. In English, that means, "I like Spanish because it’s very fluid and sounds good, and it can affect my future in a positive manner."
High schoolers have already been presented their certificates, middle schoolers received them Monday and elementary schoolers will get them on Tuesday.
Any students interested in participating in the program can talk to their foreign language teacher or contact Irene Almond at 970-254-4991, or email, Irene.Almond@d51schools.org.