March 21, 2011: "Scenes from Schools" is an occasional piece on the CCSA News Blog that offers a glimpse at the tremendous work taking place on charter school campuses across California. In today's "Scenes," we learn about Chinese language and culture courses being offered at Heritage College-Ready Academy High School in Los Angeles through a piece written by Lili Barsha, Communications Coordinator for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.
Chinese Language & Culture Courses Offered at Heritage
Some very fortunate students at Heritage College-Ready Academy High School are learning Mandarin and Wushu, a Chinese martial art, taught by Master Hu Jianqiang, founder of the U.S. Shaolin Wushu Center. The courses, which are free to Heritage students and meet twice a week for 12 weeks, represent a collaboration between the UCLA Confucius Institute and After-School All-Stars. Heritage High School was chosen after administrators of the Confucius Institute were impressed with the level of interest shown by the students and thanks to After-School All-Starts coordinator, Cindy Lizarraga. The program features Master Hu, a two-time, back to back WuShu World Champion and former film star in tandem with a Chinese culture/language class.
I sat down with two of the Heritage students participating in the program, now in it's eighth week, to find out what they've learned so far and how they like the classes.
Rosa Reyes, a 10th grader interested in possibly becoming a veterinarian, says she loves the Wushu because it's physical and highly recommends the whole experience. "If ever you have the chance to do this program, do it! I didn't know anyone at first - now I know everyone in class. You make new friends and have fun doing it." She's also learned quite a bit of Mandarin and was happy to share with me her newly appointed Mandarin name - Ming Ming, which means bright or radiant.
Jesus Correa, a 12th grader interested in George Fox University in Oregon as a possible college choice with plans to major in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, is also one of the 12 students from Heritage enrolled in the program. "I wanted something new," says Jesus when describing why he joined. "If you are interested in learning a new language, Mandarin is spoken in most of the world. That's why I signed up."
Another big bonus - the student who demonstrates the most dedication will win an all-expense paid trip to Shanghai for two weeks this summer. Even Principal Pambello is taking advantage of the opportunity and has committed himself to the classes as well. Congratulations again to Heritage for the good work - let's hope one of our students is the lucky winner of the trip to China!
Heritage College-Ready Academy High School serves 538 students in grades 9-12. It operated by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, an independent non-profit charter management organization that has grown to 18 high performance small public high schools and middle schools created in Los Angeles between 2004 and 2010. For more information on Heritage and all of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, visit LAalliance.org.