Collaborative effort forges the success of the Filipino Bi-lingual Program at Seven Oaks School Division

Collaborative effort forges the success of the Filipino Bi-lingual Program at Seven Oaks School Division

Three groups were formed to exchange ideas and course of actions to support the program

No one would ever think that the Filipino language will become a major focus by the Seven Oaks School Dvision by offering a Filipino Bi-lingual Program in September 2016 at Arthur Wright Elementary School, an offering which is the first in Manitoba, and the ever first attempted nationwide.

The launching of the Filipino Bi-lingual Program was held recently at Judi Silver Commons at the Maples Collegiate where parents, Seven Oaks School Division officials and students joined together to forge the strength of enthusiasm and passion to promote and sustain the Filipino language.

“For many years, former School Board Trustees Cory Juan and the late Ric de la Cruz would visit my office and would request for a Filipino bi-lingual program at the Seven Oaks School Division. Their passion, their dedication to promote and sustain their native language is very inspiring and today, we are launching this program to address the real needs in the Filipino community,” Brian O’Leary, Superintendent of the Seven Oaks School Division, said during the launching of the program.

After the inspiring messages of Brian O’Leary, Derek Dabee, vice-chairperson, Seven Oaks School Division, and Anna Manggano, principal, Arthur E. Wright School; and a special dance, “Polka Sa Nayon” by a Filipino dance group of Arthur E. Wright School, three groups were formed to bring out ideas to promote the Filipino Bi-lingual Program.

“The Filipinos who attended exhibited enthsiasm, acknowledgement, appreciation and determination to support the Filipino Bi-lingual Program,” former Seven Oaks Trustee member Cory Juan, the prime mover of the program, said.

Brian O’leary said: “I was pleased with the attendance and enthusiasm evident at the forum. We look forward to a successful program launched this fall at the Arthur E. Wright Community School.”

O’Leary said that there are 20 who registered, leading to the required 35 to 40 students.

The following are the voices from the stakeholders: Derek Dabee: “I am very proud to support and celebrate this wonderful example of celebrating diversity in heritage language.” Virgil Lagotera, president, Timpuyog Ti Ilocano; “Congratulations! The Filipino Bi-lingual Program is now a reality.”

Anna Manggano: “This is a very exciting time in Winnipeg and in the Seven Oaks School Division. The diverse communities we live and work in make us better people. The children can look forward to celebrating and enjoying the beginnings of a new opportunity to learn and retain the Filipino language and culture.”

Dr. Porfina Pedrina, president, Seven Oaks Filipino Employees Association (SOFEA): “This program initiated by former trustee Cory Juan will assist the young Filipinos to smoothly integrate in the Canadian school system while they continue learning the Filipino language and culture. It is easy to forget the heritage language and culture if you are not given the opportunity to practice, likewise, this program will allow the students to keep their unique identity as Filipinos.”

Maria Cristina Baylon:”Everybody shared ideas and suggestions regarding this program. We came up with envisioning it in the next five years to have the K-12 program, not just K-3.” Maribeth Tabanera, Maples teacher: “The community came together tonight to share great ideas to help flourish our Bi-lingual program. I am excited to be working within our community whose members are passionate about the future generation.”

Photos by Rod Cantiveros | Filipino Journal