Following efforts by ASB and the English Language Development department to expand the role of student leadership, ASB created the new position of ELD Commissioner for the 2017-18 school year. Sophomore Jennifer Huan, a student in the ELD department, decided to take on the position because she hopes to bridge the communicative gap between native and nonnative English speakers on campus.
Recently, ELD partnered with the MVHS Ambassadors Club to help their students better integrate into the student body. Ambassadors’ plan consists of a three-step process: lunchtime bonding between Ambassadors members and ELD students, tutoring, and encouragement to participate in school events and activities.
“The idea behind it is to expose ELD students to MVHS activities and encourage them to interact more with non-ELD students,” Lydia Zele, ELD coordinator, said. “It is about looking at the world in a different way and enriching everybody’s perspectives.”
Shortly after, ASB reached out to create a position in their Government class focusing on the potential involvement of ELD students. Huan, who moved to MVHS two years ago from China, was interested in both the social and cultural outreach the position entailed.
“I think there are almost 100 students who speak English as their second language…and I think ELD’s not the meaning of language — it’s also cultural — so I think that the department is really important, and we need some leader [because]I think we can do more,” Huan said.
According to Huan, the position of ELD Commissioner requires planning and helping to organize activities, alongside the Activities class, by directly asking ELD students what they want to see from ASB. One idea she has in mind would be to hold lunchtime activities for native-English speakers and ELD students to bond with one another.
In regards to ASB’s current efforts in overcoming the language barrier between students, they have begun to translate posters for school activities to hang around campus. Huan recognized these efforts when she noticed the Battle of the Classes posters were translated into Spanish and Chinese, a change she plans to continue when she is in ASB.
Huan hopes to be an example for other English language learners to show how possible and impactful involvement in student leadership can be.
“If I become the ELD Commissioner, more and more students will join [ASB Government] because they saw me,” Huan said. “I’m the first one, so if I can do this, other people can do this.”