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Specialty school paving the way for Latinos

By MIKE HALLIDAY

The Mirror

In the evenings, twice a week during the school year, Thomas Jefferson High School has a second wave of students.

They are not all young people working to graduate. Some are grandmothers, others are fathers, uncles and mothers. They are high schoolers and younger students.

They all have at least one thing in common: They are Latinos.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, they come to Latino Night at Jefferson to learn English, practice speaking it, earn their General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or earn credits to graduate from high school. The younger children get help with homework or work on arts and crafts.

Vicente Lucatero is part of the second wave of students. A man in his 30s, he has lived in the area for several years. He learned English while working in Washington, but started taking Latino Night’s advanced class in the school’s library after a friend gave him a flier about the program. Since Lucatero started last year, the program has helped him learn correct sentence structure, an aspect of English he hadn’t grasped in the past. Now that he understands, it makes him feel better about speaking the language, he said.

Janitzio Bustamente also wanted to understand more of the concepts of English grammar. The class has helped him, he said.

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