For decades, Mile High Academy has prided itself on its ability to offer various foreign languages. This school year, with an anonymous donation, MHA has expanded its foreign language offerings to include Mandarin for its middle school students.
A local Adventist pastor connected Mile High Academy with Excellerate Learning Academy, a family-owned business founded in October 2017 that is committed to providing language programs to schools across the country. EXLA gives schools, parents and students the opportunity to imme
rse themselves in learning a foreign language through interactive activities, games, movement and cultural appreciations.
Lorraine Saintus, EXLA chief operations manager, said, “As Adventist business owners, we are excited to partner with Adventist schools such as Mile High Academy. It has been a pleasure working with the MHA administration and with the teaching staff. This connection is important for a successful partnership. And, most importantly, we always ask God to give us wisdom so we can assign the right teacher to each school.”
Proctored by MHA teacher Jayme Blaire and taught live via Zoom by Shu Yin Chen, MHA’s middle school Mandarin class meets every Monday and Wednesday afternoon. Chen has been teaching Mandarin for almost 30 years, both in her home country of Taiwan and in the United States. Under her guidance, the students are learning fundamentals such as greetings, pinyin, tones and strokes. They are also learning about culture and holidays.
“It is important for students to learn the language, culture and history of China to allow them more global opportunities as they move forward in both their education and career paths,” said Chen.
According to a recent study by Statista, Chinese (Mandarin) is the second most spoken language in the world, and is the third most spoken language in the United States. Mandarin is often considered one of the world’s most difficult languages to learn, taking hard work and determination.
MHA eighth-grader, Alaina, commented, “It is a unique opportunity to learn a new language. Learning a different language is
also beneficial because it can be a fun challenge.”
With several months remaining in the school year, Chen is excited to watch her students continue to grow and is grateful for the support she has received from her MHA colleagues. “The students are very dedicated to learning and are engaged in class. I am so thankful Excellerate Learning
Academy selected me to be part ofthe MHA team.”
Karrie Meyers is the marketing and development staff at Mile High Academy.