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NHS Hosts World Language Beyond The Classroom Day



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Newtown High School hosted a number of volunteer speakers for its February 10 World Language Beyond the Classroom Day, overseen by the School-to-Career coordinator Peg Ragaini.

Karen Menendez, the global account director for Cartus Intercultural & Language Solutions of Danbury, also helped coordinate volunteers from her company for the day.

Ms Ragaini explained that volunteers who speak more than one language visited participating classrooms for the day to talk about their experiences with language and the benefits they have noted from being able to speak two or more languages. Ms Ragaini said the volunteers all planned to discuss why their life is better because of their ability to speak more than one language.

World Language Beyond the Classroom Day began at the high school roughly 20 years ago as a World Language Department program, according to Ms Ragaini, until the Career Center began managing it roughly 12 years ago, with support from Ms Menendez and Cartus.

Speakers for the day included local residents, NHS educators, and nine Cartus Intercultural & Language Solutions employees.

"The nine of us all work at Cartus's global headquarters in Danbury as part of our Intercultural & Language Solutions department, and therefore, the use of world languages beyond the classroom… is truly integral to our work in supporting our clients' employees and families as they relocate for international assignments around the globe," said Ms Menendez.

Following the day, Ms Menendez said she received positive feedback from all of the Cartus Intercultural & Language Solutions employees.

"We were happy to be able to share how the knowledge of a second language has positively impacted our lives, both personally and professionally, and we hope to have inspired many of the Newtown High School students to continue with their language studies, as the ability to speak a second - or third -  language is a highly valuable and transferable skill regardless of one's eventual career path, especially in our increasingly interconnected world and competitive global marketplace," said Ms Menendez in an e-mail.

This was the first time the volunteer speakers visited individual classrooms. During previous World Language Beyond the Classroom Days at NHS, according to Ms Ragaini, speakers have been hosted in the school's Lecture Hall and interested classes and students visited the room.

Ms Menendez said she felt the new format resulted in more active listening by students and an increased interest, demonstrated by students asking more questions of the speakers.

Newtown High School, NHS, World Language Beyond the Classroom Day, Cartus Intercultural & Language Solutions. (Bee Photo, Hallabeck)
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