Fairview Elementary’s English As A Second Language Program Gets Boost From Lyondellbasell

admin Thursday, December 7, 2023 Comments Off on Fairview Elementary’s English As A Second Language Program Gets Boost From Lyondellbasell
Fairview Elementary’s English As A Second Language Program Gets Boost From Lyondellbasell

Aquien aquí le gusta ver televisión,” Armando Lara asks English as a Second Language (ESL) students. That translates to, “Who here likes to watch television?” 

Lara is speaking to students and faculty at Fairview Elementary where over 60 percent of the student population speaks Spanish. He tells students their televisions are likely made from plastic and that LyondellBasell, who’s donating $20,000 to the school, is one of the world’s largest producers of plastic resins. 

Lara says it wasn’t that long ago that he himself was in school learning to speak English. Now Lara, who is of Mexican descent, works as site manager at one of two LyondellBasell SWLA locations. Lara speaks to the students in Spanish for the majority of the presentation. He asks students to raise their hands if they love math and tells the ones who do they can grow up to become engineers one day.

Fairview’s ESL program was born at Nelson Elementary. The program grew quickly, and more space was needed. “When the students first came over there were only 30 of them. Now there are over 300,” says principal Lori Bertrand. “We register new students every week. They may enter at fifth grade with no English whatsoever, or they may enter as a bilingual third grader. The needs vary and we’re able to support them.” The school has more than 30 Spanish speaking faculty members.

Before the presentation of the check, Fairvew announces their Teacher of the Year. Mariely Maldonado is a third grade, two-way immersion teacher, and she looks stunned when her name is called. The children cheer and tears start streaming down Maldonado’s cheeks. “We are so fortunate to have students like you guys here at Fairview and teachers like Ms. Maldonado. She’s crying. That’s how much she cares. That’s how much value she places on her profession,” says Calcasieu Parish School System superintendent Dr. LaFargue.

The money donated by LyondellBasell will, “first and foremost go towards obtaining our immersion certification,” says Bertrand. “We haven’t had a large industry partner like this in a while, and we’re really excited to have their support.”

The partnership LyondellBasell has with Fairview is “really part of a broader program,” Lara says. “It’s important to us to have a positive impact in the communities where we operate, and one of the places we felt we needed to contribute was in the development of the future generation.” 

Willona Jackson, CPSB’s supervisor of special projects, says, “The money is remarkable. That will go towards supplies, stipends for teachers and whatever the school needs, but the other piece is now there’s an established partnership. LyondellBasell wants to do more than just donate, they want to volunteer. They want to be lunch buddies, reading buddies, they want to come in for career week and talk to the students. It’s bigger than the money.”

Lake Charles mayor Nic Hunter says, “Honestly, LyondellBasell has been one of the greatest partners the city has had from an industry standpoint.” Hunter says LyondellBasell donated $100,000 to rejuvenate Lock Park as part of the LC Rebound Initiative. The park will be renovated for children of all abilities using plastic LyondellBasell produces. “When a company makes a contribution like this, within the school system and beyond, it helps the city of Lake Charles as a whole,” Hunter says.

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