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The Geyser

Transfer student strives to overcome language barrier

Here at Park High we do not receive many new transfers during the school year, but one that stuck out to many this year was the new sophomore, Jairon Lara. Lara has moved here from Honduras where he lived before with his dad.
He’s not so different from the rest of our Park High students when it comes to being a student, but what sets him apart is his personal barrier. Lara doesn’t speak English. Well, that’s an overstatement; Lara knows a few basic words in English like hi, ok, yes, no: the very simple and predictable words. But trying to have a full conversation is quite the obstacle course without having any knowledge of how to speak Spanish.
Some of the students at Park High who know some Spanish have taken it to heart in trying to make Lara feel a bit more comfortable. On Jairon’s first day, junior Gray Hoglund-Mossman attempted to use her Spanish practice and have a conversation with the transfer student. His serious appearance was a “bit intimidating to match” but Gray was proud of herself for trying to talk to him anyway.
Jairon Lara has made himself quite at home here at Park High already. He has many friends who help him out when he’s confused and many teachers that have been willing to take a few extra minutes to help him as well. Keaton Ramm has grown very close with the new student in just the short timeframe Lara has been here.
Miss Ramm has pointed out how she has seen Lara’s growth here specifically with overcoming the changes from not going to school to “getting used to learning a schedule” and “following classes.” She also spoke of “lots of firsts” that Lara has been able to experience with her Spanish 2 class, like snow angels, a snowball fight, even drawing stars. Miss Ramm lastly spoke of the hardship she and many other teachers have had to overcome with teaching Jairon because of Park High’s lack of an ESL support staff member to help Jairon.
He knows many here at Park High can’t fully understand him, and he does struggle a bit to reach out and ask for help. But overall the transfer student has come to love the community here, and he’s been practicing his English hoping one day he can talk comfortably with his friends. “I do like it here, I like the kids, and the school” Lara says, reflecting over the year so far.
He says he is unsure of what will happen next year, but he hopes that he will get to stay and continue his friendships as well as be able to talk more in English overall, even if it is only a few words more.

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