Learning language, culture begins at home

THE Chamorro and Carolinian Language and Heritage Studies program concluded its CNMI-wide, week-long performing arts competition on Friday, with its director encouraging parents and students to help promote the local languages and cultures at home.

Sinapalo Elementary School, Marianas High School and Francisco M. Sablan Middle School received the most awards.

MHS won in 11 categories, Kagman High School took home nine trophies, and Tinian Jr./Sr. High School got three trophies.

In the middle school category, Francisco M. Sablan Middle school won 11 trophies, followed by Tinian Jr. Sr. High School with four, Chacha Ocean View Middle School with four, Tanapag Middle School with four and Hopwood Middle School with two.

Francisco M. Sablan Middle School students at the award ceremony. They won in 11 categories.

At the elementary level, Sinapalo Elementary School won in 11 categories, followed by Oleai Elementary School with seven wins. William S. Reyes Elementary School and Kagman Elementary School both got four trophies, Tinian Elementary School and Garapan Elementary School both got three, and Koblerville Elementary School and Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School both received two.

Jonas Barcinas, CCLHS director, said the purpose of the event was to perpetuate and preserve the local languages and cultures.

“It was a very successful event. I commend everyone for their participation and for making this event possible, especially our students,” he said.

Barcinas said he hoped the students, through cultural activities like this, would come to take local language and culture more seriously.

“Many of our kids speak English. They don’t speak the native language. That is a huge concern. The community is asking, why are the children not learning the language?” he said, adding “Everything comes from home. Parents have to take the first responsibility to teach the kids their native language.”

Marianas High School students took home 11 trophies for winning in various categories. Photos by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

He encouraged everyone – students, parents, the community, and the Legislative leaders to help the CCLHS campaign to promote Chamorro and Carolinian language and culture.

“We need to work together if we want the program to succeed and prosper. They say it takes a village to educate and raise a child. It is not my responsibility alone, it is not the teachers’ responsibility alone, it is not the students’ responsibility alone, it is everyone’s responsibility. Let us take our language seriously because we are losing it,” he added.

He challenged the students and schools to create more clubs that are centered on promoting the Chamorro and Carolinian cultures and languages.

“The CCHLHS program will continue to work with the teachers, community, and Public School System to nurture this dying language of ours in the schools,” Barcinas said.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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