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Partners in Education: Foreign Language Studies

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Partners in Education: Foreign Language Studies

By Brie Groves. CREATED Jan 7, 2014

PULASKI, WI --A world language program now in it's second year in the Pulaski School District is opening the minds of students at a very young age, and should they decide to stick with it, they'll be saving some big bucks on college classes.

Tracie Van Gheem-Rottier or Seniora VGR as most would say, has been teaching students Spanish for almost 20 years.

Her passion for working with them is clear.

"This is a really exciting time for young people in their lives, they're about to embark on their independence and it's exciting to be with them," said Tracie Van Gheem-Rottier.

"She helps us so much. We probably speak horrible Spanish, but we just have fun with it," said Pulaski senior, Cari Hansen.

Cari Hansen is a senior in the class. She's been developing her Spanish skills since the 7th grade.

"When you go into the future you're going to meet so many people and it will help." said Hansen.

Cari is hoping to put her skills to the test as she studies abroad in college.

"I wish that I could have started as an elementary student. It would have been nicer to know more," said Hansen.

Now, thanks to a shared passion between the district and educators, student's in all five of Pulaski's elementary schools are learning foreign languages.

"With Kindergarten and 1st they start out with mimicking the sound playing games so it's more natural for them," said Pulaski Supt., Milt Thompson.

Experts say the key window for learning language occurs from early years to about 10 or 11 and teachers are integrating subjects like social studies with the Spanish lessons.

Not only are these students getting the benefits of learning the language at a young age, but as the classes carry on throughout high school another important factor is growing.

Due to financial constraints many schools have decided to cut extracurricular programs like this one but Superintendent Thompson says Pulaski follows a philosophy of helping students become their best selves, and he believes the Fine Arts and Foreign Studies play a large part in that.