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Source: Dana Kim

The flags of Mexico, France, Germany and Japan.

Dana Kim, Editor-in-Chief and Staff Writer

Taking a language class is mandatory at Los Alamitos High School. Hence, many students are choosing a language as their elective in middle school due to the many advantages it offers.

Seventh graders attending McAuliffe Middle School have the option of taking Spanish I or French I. Eighth graders have the option of taking Spanish I or Ⅱ Honors, French I or Ⅱ, German I, or Japanese I.  

These classes are more demanding academically than other elective choices, so students must meet certain requirements. For example, students are required to have excellent attendance and work habits. Furthermore, they must have a minimum of 3.50 GPA and a “B” or higher in their English class. Lastly, a recommendation from their English teacher is also part of the requirement.

Although the Spanish I class can be taken at McAuliffe, all other classes are located at the high school. Middle school students who take these classes need to be at Los Alamitos High School before the starting time, which is 7:50 a.m. Once their one-hour class is over, the students are provided with a bus ride back to McAuliffe.

By the time the seventh and eighth graders arrive at McAuliffe, first period is already in session. Thus, to make up for the extra time, students can be teacher aides or work on their homework. 

Additionally, all students who take classes at the high school have second period P.E. On McAuliffe’s early dismissal or minimum days, students will miss a part of second-period. Due to this problem, the school decided to assign P.E. second period, so students do not have to miss any major academic lessons. 

One elective many McAuliffe Eagles take is Spanish I with Mrs. Callaway. Mrs. Callaway is a Spanish and Yearbook teacher at McAuliffe, and she has been teaching Spanish for about 17 years. 

When asked what she does to make her class interactive and entertaining, Mrs. Callaway stated, “We sing, we do some games, we do a lot of partner talking and [students] like writing on the whiteboards.” Some students may believe language classes are mundane and very straightforward, but the interactive ways students learn a language make the experience interesting and memorable.

Most students choose language classes out of their own desire, even though it may be academically demanding. Audrey White, an eighth grader taking French I at the high school, shared, “Learning a language at the high school will help with all the other subjects since it strengthens my memorization skills through repetition. It can also give me college credits since I am able to take AP classes earlier.”

Another reason students start taking a language is to better connect with family members or friends. Saylor Kuestad takes German I, and she explained, “I have family members that speak German, so I started learning it. One time, I had to stay with them for about a month, and it was really confusing since I wasn’t fluent in German.” Learning a language can help students make deeper connections with families and learn more about their background.

There are many language options at McAuliffe. This enables Eagles to gain an academic advantage over other students, be exposed to a language other than English, and most importantly, love the class. Despite the fact that waking up early and studying for tests may be difficult, learning a language is an exceptional elective choice!