ESL Family Night: Bringing the Community Together

By Vera Lin

On Dec. 10 2015, South’s ESL department held its second annual ESL Family Night. A night of games and activities, the event was open to all ESL students and their families; however, one important aspect of ESL Family Night distinguished it from other events at South: it was entirely student-run.
“[The students] are responsible for creating invitations, decorating the events, and getting the word out to the other ESL students,” said ESL teacher Ms. Lauren Fiore. “They also decide on what the theme of the event will be. This year’s theme was winter and flags.”
For about four weeks, ESL students gathered regularly to discuss what type of event they wanted to host and develop a plan to organize the event. They were given the responsibility of deciding and preparing the games, food, and activities.
“I think this was a very valuable experience” said senior Julie Bu. “Students were given the opportunity to be collaborative and they truly enjoyed it.”
During the event, students and their families played games and listened to speeches given by students while enjoying pizza and dessert. Rather than having an event for just the students, the goal of ESL Family Night was to have parents see what goes on in the ESL program and for them to interact with other ESL parents and bring the ESL community at South together.
“I think that ESL Family Night was very meaningful because it was different from other school events,” said Bu. “Not only was it created by students, but it brought together students, parents, and teachers in the ESL community.”