Foreign Language Week at BHS

Every year in the first full week of March, schools across the country celebrate National Foreign Language Week; appreciating the importance of learning other languages and cultures. This awareness started with members of Alpha Mu Gamma—National Foreign Language Honor Society—who started in 1955 to honor those students that excelled in their foreign language classes. 

The celebration of Foreign Language Week in school districts allows students to see the compelling aspects of learning a new language and to see more cultural components of the languages they are learning. Most students are simply given options on a particular language to study. Once one is selected, one continues to practice and learn that language without any understanding of the culture behind it. 

Every student attending BHS is required to pick a language to study prior to their induction to middle school. This means students are picking a course at the ages of ten or eleven. When picking a language, most students’ reasoning is because they already know it, their friends took it, or it seems easiest. Foreign Language Week provides students with information on the background and culture of these languages. Students can see a depthness of the curriculum they’re studying. 

At BHS the three languages one can study are Spanish, Italian, and French. We interviewed some BHS teachers to see their opinion on Foreign Language Week.

Mrs. Sagarese, AP and College Italian teacher shared, “We can expand the National Language Honor Society with fundraisers and community service, but we need an advisor.” Our school, with all its contributions, is still always capable of doing more to help further promote foreign languages and their culture.

Mrs. Marathe, the advisor for the Global Cultural Club, explains, “It’s important for people to know that we don’t just exist here, life is global and it’s important for people to be exposed to other cultures.” Culture goes beyond what you learn in a classroom, it’s a real-world experience. Marathe herself impressively speaks 4.5 languages and encourages others to expand their horizons on learning about other cultures. 

Bethpage High School holds a poster contest for students to participate in regarding the week’s theme that year. This year the theme is “Boost Your Brain with Languages.” Many students in all three of the foreign language classes at BHS submitted a poster expressing how learning languages strengthens your mind. Congratulations to the three winners of the poster contest: 3rd place: Isabella Romero, 2nd place: Julia Baumbach, and 1st place: Stacy Martinez.

National Foreign Language Week gives interest to students who are studying a language, beyond a means of just passing the class. Learning the culture and traditions of a country gives a personal connection between the students and their material. The Eagle’s Cry wants to thank all foreign language teachers at BHS for all the effort they put into their teaching, we truly appreciate each and every one of you.