New Language Club Takes Form Through the Effort of High School Students

Written by Madison Abood ‘22 and Jasmine Stevens ‘22/Edited by Via DaSilva ‘22

The Blue and Gold recently met with Jadzia Jean, a junior at St Mary Academy Bay View. We had the opportunity to ask her some questions about the new Language Club she recently formed. We started off by asking: where did she get the inspiration to create this club? 

Jadzia responded: “I personally have developed a passion for language learning over the past four years, and I want to share what I've learned and the passion I have with other students at my school. I feel as though sometimes learning languages at school doesn't foster the same passion that picking it up on our own can.” 

We continued on by asking Jadzia: what activities does this club carry out during its meetings? “This club functions as a language exchange between students...so other students who have an interest in language learning can share what they have learned and other students may be able to find an interest as well...I wanted students to realize that they have the potential to learn the things they want to. I thought this would be a great way to diversify our language options at school, even if it's not officially taught by language instructors because learning from other students can also show us that language learning can come from just talking to native speakers or other learners, and getting some sort of immersion,” she responded. 

Some of the diverse languages that the Language Club offers are, Mandarin, taught by AmberZheng and Ace Chou - native speakers; Korean, taught by Jadzia Jean - language learner, German, taught by Greta Heitmueller - language learner; Portuguese, taught by Gabi Valotto and Via DaSilva - native speakers; ASL (American Sign Language), taught by Via DaSilva and Gabi Valotto - language learners; and Dari (Persian), taught by Sitara QamberAli - native speaker. Jadzia, a student teacher herself, had this to say in regards to her teaching Korean. “I teach Korean. I am not Korean in any way; however I picked up a passion for the language back in middle school, and I've been studying it for four years...I am very excited to see other students I am teaching be able to read Korean, a whole new alphabet, and slowly be able to gain more confidence in the language as we go over more things.” 

Jadzia shares that it was a conscious effort to have student teachers. 

“It makes it a more open environment through having people close to your age teaching you, because rather than an instructor, you can see them as potential friends and it's possibly easier to reach out if you have any questions or you want other material to go over. One of the main reasons I chose to have student teachers though is because I know there are many students at Bay View who speak other languages or have wanted to learn languages besides what the school offers. With this club, I wanted to give students those opportunities first hand, and give us the opportunity to take the initiative in learning what we want to learn and helping others get that far.” 

Each language in the Language Club meets every two weeks, so students have the ability to choose which classes they attend based on the languages they are interested in learning. The schedule is flexible depending on student availability. Jadzia states, “As of now we have enough students signing up for each class that the language classes have automatically been smaller groups...so that students could attend lessons more tailored to their group's interests, but they could also attend another group's class to still get all the lessons offered. Either way though, if any students find that the number of students is overwhelming in any way, each of the student teachers is very willing to answer questions outside of class or to help anyone who's interested in learning about their taught language or culture.” 

When asked about the future of this club, Jadzia hopes that “The environment of this club is to make it super easy-going, and a non-judgmental place for us to pick up any language or share any passion for any language within this community of potential multilinguists. The beauty of this club is that it gives a lot of students the opportunity to take on a leadership role and step out of our boxes a bit.” She furthurs her point by sharing: “As long as there is a student willing to teach something, the opportunity is there for others to learn it...this can become a community for students to find study buddies and to learn other languages within this community even if we don't have an official teacher teaching it.” 

Jadzia additionally shares that if given the opportunity to speak with prospective members she would tell them to “Sign up! There's always going to be an opportunity for a language learner to learn something within this club, so there's no need to hesitate in signing up if there's something you want out of this.” 

For additional information about the club check out this informational document!

Language Club Information