World Language Week at LHS

Its World Language Week at Leominster High

It’s World Language Week at Leominster High

Caroline Ejby Bjornvig, Reporter

It’s World Language Week at Leominster High

World Language week arrives this coming week at LHS, a week designated to bring awareness and joy to the studies and learning of a foreign language. The week is being celebrated by schools all around America.

World Language Department Head and Italian Teacher Dr. Lesley Lajoie, is preparing for the event by highlighting the importance of being bilingual.

“Every year for the past few years, the world language department at LHS has taken the opportunity to carve out one week to highlight, not only the languages we offer here, but also different cultures and languages that students and faculty embrace.” she said. Lajoie herself speaks Italian fluently and states that knowing another language gives you an edge because you can break down barriers that are otherwise found when you, for instance, are traveling to another country. 



Because of Covid, the festivities that usually would have taken place this week were put on hold. Lajoie said that “Prior to Covid we used to work with the catering service Chartwells who provided different meals from different countries,” and it is the hope to get back to that within a few years. In the past, cultural groups have been brought in to perform for the kids. A group from Brazil came out and performed Capoeira – a Brazilian style of martial arts performed as a dance with musical instruments and traditional songs. Nine-hundred kids were in the auditorium and some were brought up on stage to join.

This year, there is a poster contest open to all using theme “Language Leads the Way.” Students are asked to submit a poster that is 22″ x 28″ by March 17 . See the flyers along the hallways or ask a World Language teacher if you have any questions. The winner will receive a Visa gift card.

The ideal situation visualized by the World Language teachers is very unanimous. “The more you know, the more you know,” said Connie Gramit,  French teacher at LHS. “ Our life experiences under each culture and language we know and learn, creates an opportunity for the imagination to grow and grow beyond our wildest dreams. Our Leominster students deserve this, indeed.”

This statement is echoed by  Lajoie, who also stated that learning a language is about a personal drive, one that she strives to motivate by creating a “hands-on” interactive class where students are encouraged to speak the target language as much as possible. 

By next year, the World Language department is implementing “The Seal of Biliteracy,” an opportunity for students to show their proficiency in their target language, even if it is a native language of theirs. This seal gives students important references on their transcripts, as well as a beautiful seal on their diploma. 

The biggest wish from the teachers of the World Language department is more encouragement from LHS to get students to speak multiple languages. 

Gramit believes that World Language classes should be viewed as core recommendation courses, not electives. “I’d like to see each Leominster student take world language classes starting around the 5th grade level and continue for at least 2 years, preferably all 4 years in high school. The outcome could be tremendous for our students,” Gramit said .

While Lajoie agrees, she also believes that the school is on the right path. “I have confidence in (Principal) Dr. Romano and his support for the languages that students and faculty speak,” she said adding it is  an improvement she noticed from years past.

Three languages are currently offered at LHS: Spanish, French and Italian – and Lajoie stated that she would love to see the school offer even more with time, as the interest in foreign languages hopefully increases.