I first met Luca last summer when his grandfather asked me to pick up Luca and his mother at the airport. The smiley, bright eyed, blond haired, 2 year old singer sang non-stop to Smyrna. I don’t know which language if any Luca was using.
His mom is a Cobb girl who graduated from Sprayberry and then Smith College. She developed a taste for travel and went into the travel business. She was already fluent in English and Portuguese. Her dad was a North Carolina Tar heel who loved basketball even though he was born in Brazil. She married a handsome Italian guy and now speaks Italian too. To increase her value in the travel business she decided to add to her high school French by moving the family to France 6 months ago to learn the language and culture.
Everywhere I went last year I saw the value of being multi-lingual. At a family reunion in Michigan, one of my younger cousins caught a ride to the party from Chicago with a longtime buddy and his girlfriend in a single engine airplane. The buddy and his girlfriend were engineers living in Germany and working for Mercedes truck division. They were both fluent in German and announced that they had both accepted positions in Brazil with Mercedes. The girlfriend was fluent in Portuguese which made the move easier. Her boyfriend could speak Portuguese but wasn’t fluent yet.
Even Macon knows the advantages of a bilingual education. The school system is teaching Chinese in all the elementary schools. Instead of hello, all the kids are saying nǐ hǎo (nee-how) to their teachers and fellow students.
Just as recess and phys-ed are good for developing young bodies, learning how to play a musical instrument and learning another language are great for increasing a child’s mental capacity. This will help them out in math, science, reading, and all the other courses.
At School Board member Scott Sweeney’s forum Monday at the Windgrove subdivision, Sweeney stated that nearby Brumby Elementary had bi and multi lingual students who could speak over 30 languages. If they had only been white children, the parents in this subdivision would have been begging to get their kids into what should be the multi-lingual and multi-cultural educational hub of Cobb County. But many parents in East Cobb run away from integrated classrooms. They put their kids in private schools instead of raising the quality of public neighborhood schools for their children. You can’t blame them; they don’t know any better and are incapable of learning.
Mr. Sweeney why don’t you make Brumby the educational hub that it should be and let any parent in Cobb be eligible to send their child to Brumby. For the backward parents near Brumby, why not give them a few dollars to help pay for their expensive private tuition. They will never evolve but perhaps they will shut up and stop being an impediment to the development of all Cobb schools, especially Brumby. It will raise their property values and that is a language they do understand.
Next time I see Luca, I’ll ask his mom what language is he fluent in, French, English, Portuguese, or Italian. Her answer may be yes.