Students are ‘Going Global’

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BY LOREEN BERLIN: The Garden Grove Unified School District held a “Going Global Launch Party” recently to celebrate its successful

new Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program at Murdy Elementary School.

Board of Education President Lan Nguyen highlighted the district’s work in launching the nation’s fourth-only

Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program and State Senator Janet Nguyen applauded the district for opening the

program to serve the community’s diverse population.

BY LOREEN BERLIN: The Garden Grove Unified School District held a “Going Global Launch Party” recently to celebrate its successful

new Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program at Murdy Elementary School.

Board of Education President Lan Nguyen highlighted the district’s work in launching the nation’s fourth-only

Vietnamese Dual Language Immersion Program and State Senator Janet Nguyen applauded the district for opening the

program to serve the community’s diverse population.

“Our parents and families want their students in this program because they know from personal experience that being

bilingual in today’s society is like holding a key that will unlock so many doors,” said Murdy School Principal Marcie Griffith.

Griffith said research has shown that dual language students out-perform their peers in English-only programs and that

students in the dual immersion program were found to have higher levels of self-esteem and motivation.

“It’s no secret that bilingual, biliterate and bicultural students have a competitive edge for exciting careers in the Global 21st

Century,” Griffith said.

In a community such as Garden Grove, where the city is second-only to Vietnam in its population of Vietnamese people, having 
Vietnamese as a second language has become a reality and necessity.

One Murdy parent, Kelly Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam and came here on a boat at the age of 5, with her
uncles, aunts and grandmother on her mother’s side, said she’s happy for the dual language program. The rest of her family
stayed behind in Vietnam, so the government couldn’t automatically take their home after the fall of Saigon.

“I cried every day, missing my parents, but eventually I got more used to it,” said Nguyen. Twenty years later, in 2005,
Nguyen’s parents were finally able to come to America.

Nguyen now has a 4-year-old daughter of her own, Madison, who has just started the transitional kindergarten program
that is nearing the 1-month mark at Murdy

“My mother, who speaks only Vietnamese, was the primary caregiver for my daughter while I was at work and so Madison
learned to speak Vietnamese, but my husband and I spoke mostly English with her,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen said she looks to the future for her daughter in 18 to 20 years, where the dual language program will be a definite academic benefit
for her to learn both languages. “I want her to be fluent in both English and Vietnamese.”

Nguyen said as a parent, she was concerned about what Madison’s first experience would be at school, but said her daughter
is happy in the school’s program learning language through songs and coloring along with the alphabet and her numbers; getting

to socialize with other children her age while at school too.

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