Westdale Middle School wins national foreign language award

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Parish Schools have won another award. This time for a foreign language program at Westdale Middle School.

Middle students are mastering Spanish at Westdale Middle School. The school is the winner of the 2011 Outstanding Middle School Spanish-Immersion Program Award.

"This is an award that is given by the education office at the embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C.," said Clare Peterson, Coordinator of the Immersion program at Westdale.

The program started seven years ago with 18 students enrolled. This year, 101 students are taught all of their core courses in Spanish or French. Some kids study both! It's a way of learning that Peterson says creates global citizens.

"By the time that our children graduate from high school, and they're going off to college, the career paths that they can choose are so much broader," said Peterson.

These students seem to agree. They understand just how much this program will help them in their future.

"It's going to all pay off when you get an amazing job, and it may even be in another country," said Piolet Jaech, an immersion program student.

Jaech, like many of her classmates, started learning Spanish in elementary school. She says she loves how teachers make classes interesting with fun activities like presentations. Her classmates say these exciting lessons make Spanish easier to master and use in the real world now.

"We go to Spanish-speaking markets a lot," said Dominique Riley, an immersion program student. "I speak Spanish to the people who work the cash registers or people who cook food or something."

The school has a lot to be proud of. Westdale has a total of nine special classes for gifted students, and the school's principal, Mrs. Brock, has won both district and state principal of the year awards

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