Vega twins immersed, now versed in English

By Jamie Hunt

When identical twins Amada and Yurilia Vega started their freshman year at Lindsay High School they spoke no English. Daughters of migrant farmworkers, they had completed elementary school in Michoacon, Mexico before their family moved to Lindsay in January 2002.

&#8220We had to complete tests to enter ninth grade. The tests were very hard, and we didn't understand anything,” Amada said.

Senior counselor Bonnie Armstrong said they began learning English in the dual immersion program, where their three core classes were taught in Spanish and they were enrolled in an English learner class.

&#8220Within one semester they moved out of immersion classes to classes taught completely in English,” Armstrong said.

English teacher Jim Kliegl said both Amada and Yurilia have set the standards for everyone in their class. &#8220They have progressed faster than any of their classmates,” Kliegl said.

As seniors, Amada has maintained a 3.72 GPA, and Yurilia, a 3.67 GPA. Both have passed their college entrance exams and the California High School Exit Exam. They also passed the senior exit interview required for graduation. Amada won the Bank of America Award in Art, and the Porterville Press Award in Art. Both have done really well in science and enjoyed history.

&#8220We took all of the same classes together, since we were freshmen,” Yurilia said, &#8220We do most things together.”

Amada and Yurilia both received an award from the Migrant Program on May 8, and Certificates in Perfect Attendance, Academic Enrichment, and a Certificate in the Visual Arts and even English Recognition.

&#8220They always get their work in before its due, and it is always excellent,” Kliegl said.

The twins said that their parents, who both work at Monrovia Nursery in Woodlake, still do not speak English. Amada said that they are both going to Porterville College.

&#8220I would like to become an art teacher,” Amada said.

&#8220I enjoyed art, but I'm thinking of nursing,” Yurilia said.

The twin seniors are somewhat reserved and quiet, but very talented. When talking further about learning the language, Amada said, that for them writing in English was actually easier than speaking the language. &#8220We are still learning English,” Amada said.

The one word they didn't learn in English: Can't.

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