Culture Night reaches out to Cape High School parents
Forty-four flags from various countries brightened up the cafeteria and auditorium Wednesday night at Cape Coral High School during the fifth annual Parent Culture Night to help inform parents of what programs are out there for their children.
Felicita Sanyet, English for Speakers of Other Languages Department Head, said she has been involved in the program since 1991 and began working at Cape Coral High School five years ago.
When she first began at Cape High she had 400 active ESOL students, which decreased five years later to 78 students due to families having to move out of the area because of the economy.
The program is offered to students in kindergarten through 12th grade whose native language is not English. The student is automatically tested for the ESOL program, she explained, if one of their parent’s native language is other than English.
The student also is placed in the program if he or she does not pass the Language Assessment Battery test to determine their proficiency of speaking the English language.
The program is designed for students who have a need to acquire a second language, Sanyet said.
Freshmen Israel Megron, who was born in Puerto Rico, began the ESOL program at Cape Coral High School in September. He explained that since moving into the area from New York his English has improved greatly due to the daily class he attends to improve his writing, reading and spelling.
Although Megron’s first language is Spanish, he said he finds himself speaking English the majority of the time with his friends and classmates. He has even has had the opportunity to learn a little Chinese from one of his fellow classmates.
Angelis Maranon, whose first language is also Spanish, explained that she has her ESOL class five days a week for an hour and 45 minutes. The freshman said she is learning new English words through the writing, reading and talking she participates in every day.
“The teacher is really good,” she explained why her English has improved on a constant basis.
Sanyet said there are 44 countries represented in the entire population of the school, which has decreased from 120 countries five years ago.
She explained that she began holding the Parent Culture Night because when “parents are involved, students perform higher.”
She said since some parents stay away from their child’s school due to either language deficiency or cultural differences, a night filled with information that will benefit them will only increase the involvement between the student and the parent.
“Most of the parents leave it in the hands of the school,” Sanyet said.
Representatives from Edison State College, Florida Gulf Coast University, Barry University and 5th 3rd Bank had tables set up in the cafeteria to provide parents with more information about what they had to offer.
Parents also were given a bag that contained gifts from various businesses of Cape Coral. The outside of the bags contained drawings of the 44 countries’ flags represented at Cape High, which were made by the students.
Information about scholarships, the ESOL program and various tests that the students have to take were provided to the parents throughout the night. A special performance by the Cape Coral High School and Mariner High School Latin Rhythm Club provided various performances for those who attended the Parent Culture Night.
Noemi Vasquez, who is the parent of ninth grader Brieanna, also joined in on the festivities Wednesday night because her daughter’s involvement in Latin Rhythm.
She said the club has helped her daughter’s self-esteem, along with bringing her out of her shell. Vasquez said the club has even taught her a little Spanish.
“She’s blossoming,” she said.
The club gets together twice a week to practice their own choreography.
“They make their own steps,” Vasquez said. “It’s amazing, they do it all alone.”