One should never forget their background and culture, no matter how distant or disconnected they might seem. This is why many people hold special after school programs to help kids from forgetting their heritage. One example is the local Korean School in the small community of La Crescenta. Attracting students from many different areas, the school consists of both Koreans and non-Koreans, all eager to learn Korean language and culture. A program like this is crucial to a neighborhood such as this one, where there is a large group of a certain ethnicity, mainly first and second generation kids, that want, or whose parents are encouraging them, to go learn about their roots and native language. These students, children to immigrant parents, may have adapted so far into western culture that they have no idea where they come from. It is surprising how many people do not know about the history of their culture or language. Establishments such as the Korean School, help people break out of that circle and become more aware of where they came from. The teachers stress the importance of knowing their backgrounds and make learning language and culture enjoyable for all students. Activities include, but are not limited to, celebrating Korean holidays, making Korean food, and watching Korean performances or videos. Korean traditions are also brought into light, and students learn through firsthand experience. The lower grade students are taught how to grasp the language, while the higher grade students prep for the Korean language SAT, being able to fully master the language in 9 years or less.
Many people ask: Why is this important? Couldn’t parents just teach the language at home? It is true that they could, but some of them have sadly forgotten the language as well. Many parents find themselves not fluent enough to teach their children, so this can be a very important program to them, as they do not want their children to forget as they did. There are not many places where you can find Korean help, specifically for the SAT, so many students attend to boost their score. Tuition is inexpensive, so it shows that the teachers are not in it for the money and actually care about the students.
With small class sizes, instructors can focus on each individual student and help them master the language through fun activities and hands-on learning. In such a time where technology is such a huge factor in everyday lives and communication is easier than ever, we see the growth of Korean culture worldwide. This is also a reason why many non-Korean students want to learn the language. They can now watch their favorite shows and listen to their favorite music in a language that they are now familiar in, thanks to places like our Korean School. People should never forget where they came from and where their parents or grandparents were brought up, and places like these help many carry on their customs and traditions, no matter how far away they are.
Jinje Jung, Grade 10
Crescenta Valley High School