ST. JOHNSBURY -- Students in St. Johnsbury Academy language classes will be offering a series of four after-school introductory language lessons for local seventh and eighth graders. The classes will take place at Catamount Arts from 4-5 p.m. on successive Wednesdays beginning March 13, and will be taught in Chinese (March 13), Spanish (March 20), French (March 27), and Japanese (April 3).

The classes are free of charge and aimed primarily at students who have had little or no exposure to foreign languages, although all students are encouraged to sign up. Academy faculty will serve as facilitators.

"The student teachers will comprise both native and non-native speakers," said Kendra Paupst, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages at the Academy. "Our language students are eager to share their language and culture with local middle-school-age students."

Food is the focal point of the lessons, and students will learn introductory vocabulary, as well as vocabulary relating to dishes from each culture. (For example, spring rolls from China, paella from Spain, crêpes from France, and rice balls from Japan.) Students will participate in active and hands-on class activities, will sample the dishes from each culture, and will receive copies of each recipe in English as well as the target language.

Space is available first-come first-served with the hope that students will sign up for the entire series. Contact Kendra Paupst at 802-751-2448 or kpaupst@stjacademy.org for details. Please indicate student's name, grade and school. Because of the nature of the lessons, potential participants with extensive food allergies should contact Paupst before registering.

Funding for this program was provided by the Vermont Community Foundation's Northeast Kingdom Fund.

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