LIMA — Jovanny Godinez and Mackenzie Galvin, both seniors at Lima Senior High School, have been using their Spanish to help two children at Heritage Elementary School.
Godinez and Galvin are both involved in Lima Senior’s Early Childhood Education program. They have been volunteering at Heritage Elementary School since September working with preschool through second grade.
Godinez and Galvin have been helping two girls who recently moved into the area from Guatemala speaking only Spanish. They have translated for teachers and students, working with the students to understand the daily routine in the classroom. They have also been teaching the alphabet sounds and letter/number recognition.
Godinez has been helping 3-year-old Daphne Garcia-Lopez in the preschool class.
He helps with translating directions to Daphne, and then she will point to an answer.
“She’s catching on and repeating things,” said Dawn Smith, preschool teacher at Heritage. “We are pretty fortunate to have had both of them [Godinez and Galvin]. They have a little bit more energy than I and can play with the kids.”
By the smile on Godinez’s face, he is enjoying his pupil.
“It makes me proud. Her sister developed quickly and now speaks English. She is a first-grader. She’s [Daphne] catching on, but she’s younger,” Godinez said.
The senior is interested in pursuing his education upon graduation hoping to attend Bluffton University and majoring in Early Childhood Education hoping to become a preschool teacher.
“When I was little I wanted to teach the youth a better way. Not that many people speak Spanish in Lima, and I wonder if I could help these kids,” Godinez said.
The seniors finished up their assignment at Heritage Elementary School on Tuesday. They will go to the WOCAP Preschool next week.
Godinez and Galvin will be missed at Heritage in the pre-school class.
“With my limited amount of Spanish words and Daphne’s limited English, we’ll make it work,” Smith said.
The Lima City School District employs an English as a Second Languagestaff member who will be checking in with Smith and Daphne.
It is not uncommon for a student to attend any of the Lima City schools not speaking English.
“We have an English as a Second Language staff member, Jeannette Weaver, who helps the students and teachers. They have done a really good job communicating with the parents and students,” said Angela Miller, supervisor for Heritage Elementary School. “She starts working with the family from the time they move in.”
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511