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High schoolers celebrate languages through competition

SVSU helped more than 400 local high schools share their cultures at the annual Foreign Languages Day competition.

Monika Dix, a modern foreign languages professor, helped organize the event, inviting local high schools to come compete in various competitions.

“We had several different contests,” Dix said. “There was a poster display, skit contest, song and dance show and an international awareness contest, where students were asked questions about various cultural facts.”

Dix said Modern Foreign Languages Day helps students realize foreign languages are worth studying.

“Languages open your path to employment,” she said. “When employers see you speak a second language, they are more likely to hire you.”

Dix said foreign languages also help students understand their own culture.

“Foreign languages help you understand cultures in a new light,” Dix said. “I often have students say to me, ‘Wow, I understand this more in American culture.”’

Dix said languages use different parts of the brain, which help students communicate and grow in school.

“Languages work with a different side of your brain,” she said. “I feel the creative side is important, and I always encourage students to learn new languages.”

Madi Carver, a psychology freshman, judged the German dancing competition. She said she loved watching the high school students get involved in foreign languages.

“My grandmother lived in Germany for quite a few years after college, and I was interested in the language and culture, so I took GER 111,” Carver said, “It was a great time watching people get involved in the cultures they are studying. I felt Caro represented Germany very well.”

The judge for the French competition was Rachel Berlin, a French, Spanish, and business senior. She said it was wonderful to see students involved with other cultures.

“This is important to me because I love to see kids in high school be so passionate about other languages and countries’ cultures,” she said, “It gives me hope for the next generations coming to have empathy for foreign people.”

Dix said the event overall had a great turnout.

“It went really well,” she said. “Over 400 students came to compete.”

Dix said foreign languages are taught in a fun, engaging way at SVSU.

“Languages can be fun,” she said. “We are very interactive, and all upper level courses have community service components along with involving engagement with native language speakers.”

Dix said SVSU plans to offer dual enrollment for high school students in the near future.

“SVSU plans to offer students and high school teachers’ dual enrollment in foreign languages,” Dix said. “I have a high school student now studying advanced Japanese, and when he applies to college, he will already have a Japanese minor.”

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