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Immigrant America

Kennedy Leahealey, Journalist

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The past few years, the number of clubs on the CdM campus have widely increased. This year, there are over 80 CdM student run clubs in the high school alone. These clubs range everywhere from the Sea Kings Fishing Club, run by freshman Pierce Hemphill, to the Heartstrings for Haiti Club, run by junior Tessa Borisy.
One of the returning clubs from last year is Immigrant America. It is run by Austin Leehealey, a junior, and it meets in Mr. French’s classroom (226) every month. This club offers CdM students volunteering and community service opportunities. Every weekend on Saturday, the club members go to the senior center to volunteer with the Mandarin-speaking seniors. The volunteers help the seniors learn how to speak and understand English. In addition, the seniors are taught about American history and the United States government. The goal of the class is to help the seniors prepare for their citizenship test so that they can become official United States citizens.
The club also continues into the summer time. This past summer, Leehealey won a grant for his project from the Dragon Kim Scholarship Foundation. Using the money, he was able to set up a summer program that, instead of Mandarin, helps Spanish-speaking immigrants gain their citizenship.
When asked about her experiences with the class, regular volunteer Lillian Qiao said, “I think the club supports a really good cause. We help a lot of people improve their English. Also, when a senior you taught goes on to pass the actual citizenship test, it is the best feeling in the world.” The class not only helps the Mandarin-speaking seniors, but also helps the student volunteers. During the classes, students have the chance to interact with different generations and learn from them. For example, the students that are currently enrolled Mandarin class at CdM can practice conversing with actual native speakers. However, students do not have to know Mandarin in order to help volunteer. Because the goal is to better the seniors’ English speaking skills, volunteers speak mainly English anyways. In addition to getting to give back to our community, volunteers are granted to satisfaction of knowing they contributed to a good cause: helping seniors become citizens.

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Immigrant America