Holy Heart High School offers the province’s only comprehensive secondary ESL program, which is designed to help students reach their full potential in a new cultural, linguistic and educational environment. Our program is firmly linked to the academic and social program of the school, with the content of the ESL courses derived from the language demands made by the regular curriculum.
The school has a permanent ESL centre which serves as a reception, resource and social area. A specialized curriculum, recognized by the Department of Education, is designed to foster greater proficiency in students’ communicative skills in English in order to complement their work in the content areas.
Like all other students, ESL students are registered in a full complement of courses from their first day of school, the only difference being registration in ESL rather than English language arts. With the exception of ESL courses as a replacement for English, an ESL student takes the same courses as all other students.
Holy Heart has ESL students from thirty-four different countries who stay for from one year of English immersion up to a full four-year high school program. Students come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and add immeasurably to the diversity and rich cultural life of the school.
Holy Heart has two full-time ESL teacher on staffs. In addition, career planning and guidance assistance are provided by the Guidance Counselors and a part-time settlement worker has been assigned to the school to assist students with their initial integration into the school environment.
In 2004, Holy Heart established an ESL scholarship of $1000 awarded to the graduating student with the highest overall academic average in the ESL class*. Fundraising for the scholarship included donations from Bethesda Pentecostal Church, the Presentation Sisters, RBC Canada, The Rotary Club of St. John’s and the Sisters of Mercy as well as an annual ticket lottery on a multicultural basket held at the school.
Recipients of the scholarship to date are:
– 2004 Peter Ma
– 2005 Laura Nino Canon
– 2006 Okelik Sorro
*Details of the selection criteria for the scholarship are available from the Guidance Office.
A special position has been added to Student Council to represent the ESL class. The ESL rep is responsible for passing Student Council information along to the ESL class, participating in the organization of Student Council and ESL events, and representing the concerns of the ESL class on Student Council. The ESL Rep is elected by the ESL class during Student Council Elections at the beginning of the year.
Every year, the ESL class participates in the Sharing Our Cultures Multicultural Fair sponsored by Heritage Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada. For more information, see Sharing Our Cultures.
The ESL class also presents its own Multicultural Fair at Holy Heart with country display booths, music, performances and demonstrations. The Holy Heart Multicultural Fair usually takes place in April.
The ESL class is also active in many of the extracurricular groups and activities around the school. ESL students participate in choirs, drama club, cheerleading, math club, team sports like basketball, soccer and badminton, and many other activities. There are many ways for ESL students to become part of the school community at Holy Heart!