Getting ready for graduation can be very demanding, but as bilingual students prepare for college with the ACT program, the focus is on scores and goals.
Students at La Academia Act hosted by Heritage High School are busy preparing for the ACT this September. For Manny Mejia, a senior at Springdale High Schoo9l, this September will mark the sixth time he has taken the ACT.
Mejia has scored a 25 before, and had a teacher who pushed him to take the test. He feels that even talking about one question a day helps, and wishes that more teachers would prep students like him for this all important test that determines their futures at college.
This week was the first time he’s taken a formal class to prepare. He thinks he can do better.
Senior year really only gives students two and a half months to get the college process started, he said. The September and October ACT dates are his final chance to get a top score.
“I think it’s really important to start studying now,” he said.
The weeklong academy talked to students about financial aid, essays, resumes and had a session for parents, said Luis Restrepo, program director for the Office of Latino Academic Advancement at the University of Arkansas.
Jeanette Arnhart, University of Arkansas Spanish instructor, urged students to use Spanish to make their English better.
“You’ve got to get out of ‘English only’ mode,” Arnhart said.
English is a mix of other languages, she said. Spanish is a second language for her and she’ll still make up words in Spanish sometimes.
Bilingualism doesn’t mean that students speak Spanish on the same level as their English, Restrepo said.
Some of the academy class said they’d had moments where they wished they could respond to their parents in Spanish, but couldn’t find the words.