WCU and Jackson County Schools to present “Project: Shining Stars”

Learning a second language can sometimes be a difficult-to-navigate two-way street between the tutor and the student.

This notion has led to a community-working partnership between a Western Carolina University Spanish class and Jackson County School’s English as a Second Language Program. The partnership is called “Proyecto: Estrella Brillante (Project: Shining Stars).”

The results of this project will be presented as two plays, adapted from Mexican folklore and translated into English, Friday, Oct. 27, at Cullowhee Valley School. The plays will take place at 6:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

The service-learning project involved volunteer Spanish students from WCU’s modern foreign language department tutoring elementary school students who were part of the ESL program. By tutoring the ESL students, the WCU Spanish students were able to put their skills to use and reinforce their own language learning in the process, said Patricia Hackett, WCU visiting assistant professor of modern foreign languages.

As a result, students from both levels of education had to face the diversities and challenges of learning an alternative language and the adoptions of another culture, Hackett said.

The two plays that will be presented on Oct. 27 are “El Conejito Verde” (The Green Rabbit) and “Domigo Siete” (Sunday Seven.) ESL students will participate in the plays to demonstrate to their parents and the community that they can – and want to – learn English.

The county school system’s ESL Program is designed to help students who have a non-English language background or limited English proficiency learn or improve their English language skills.

For more information, contact Hackett at (828) 227-3761 or Paul Strop, ESL coordinator of Jackson County Schools, at (828) 586-2311.