The ESL Program at Barberton City Schools held their 3rd Annual Cultural Festival on Thursday, April 27th. This district-wide event led by ESL Teacher, Randa Nemer, brought together English Learners, their families, teachers, native-English speaking students, and community members to celebrate cultural diversity at Barberton City Schools. Guests enjoyed activities and a variety of different foods that families brought to represent their countries. Friendships made from previous cultural festivals were rekindled and new bonds were also made.
The highlight of the event were the speakers who shared emotional stories about their journeys immigrating to America. It was especially significant for the ESL Teacher because her father, Manuel Nemer, an immigrant from Lebanon, shared his inspiring story about growing up in Lebanon and attending a German boarding school there. Manuel genuinely spoke to the students and explained how difficult it was like for him coming to America with $6 that his mother had given to him, something that he cherished forever. Manuel said, “The first day I got to the United States, the next day I went to work.” He used to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for $20 each week until he earned enough money to send his first $500 to his beloved mother. He has been working for 47 years and still works 10-12 hours every day. His heartfelt story moved all of the guests and he spoke directly to the students by encouraging them that great things can happen, like they did for him, by working hard and being blessed to have the opportunity of being in America. He said, “Here we have so much help now, but back in those days we didn’t have any of that. It pays to work hard, have good ethics, honesty, and good will.”
Sixth grade students, Amir Halilovic from Bosnia and Noe Guerrero from Mexico, also shared their stories and experiences from their native countries and how they started their lives in America. The students explained how their teachers helped them succeed with learning English and how Barberton City Schools are preparing them for their future, especially through the STEM program. The event was a testimony of how valuable English Learners and their families are to the Barberton community and how the schools are helping the students succeed.
ELs @ BCS
The English Learner (EL) program at Barberton City Schools helps provide the resources and support ELs need to succeed. Our goal is for ELs to meet learning standards and achieve academic and social success.