Members of the Class of 2013, HHS Top 15 and DECA Championship Team
Aainy and Diana moved to the United States with their families in elementary school. Both families lived in other areas of the United States before settling in to Lynchburg many years ago.
Diana came to the U. S. in fifth grade and began attending Lynchburg City Schools in seventh grade. Although she already spoke English pretty well, she says she still needed some extra help. Her teachers gave her the extra attention she needed to understand assignments and continue to be a successful student.
For Aainy, coming to America was difficult. Her family didn’t have anybody here, and with the exception of her dad, they barely spoke English. “It was just a struggle getting used to living here, the American customs, making friends, when I barely spoke English.”
Both students agree that LCS welcomes students from all cultures and races.
“I definitely felt very welcome coming here. There are students from over 37 countries, I believe,” says Diana. “It’s nice to feel like you’re not the only outsider here. …It was a different environment from the schools I’d previously gone to, so it was nice to see that they were so welcoming.”
Aainy began her LCS career at Perrymont Elementary School. She already had a few years’ head start on learning the English language, but she still needed extra guidance to help her reach her full potential. That’s why her teachers selected her to participate in the LCS Summer PETAL (Promoting Excellence Through Accelerated Learning) Program, which identifies students with academic potential for achievement at a higher level.
In her third grade PETAL program she worked on mostly grammatical assignments, which was what she struggled with most. One summer the PETAL students read a book and did a play on the book. The program helped Aainy move up to upper level English and math classes, which, once she reached high school, gave her the chance to take classes that could earn her college credits.
“Having done the PETAL program definitely helped me get to where needed to be, where I am today,” says Aainy, who graduated in the top 15 of her class.
Diana’s favorite subject was Marketing. She and Aainy both were a part of the award-winning DECA team at Heritage, which consists of Marketing exams, role plays and business planning. “It actually helped shape what I want to do in the future,” says Diana, who was also in the top 15 of her class. “Now I’m going into a career in Marketing and Business.”
“DECA and the Marketing Program here helped me decide that I’m going to study Business Management at Virginia Tech,” says Aainy. “It’s definitely had a great impact on my life.”