Centerville tonight hosts new event to showcase immigrant school initiative

A Centerville school initiative designed to increase engagement between residents and immigrant families will once again be on display for the public from 6:30 to 8 p.m. today at the Centerville Police Department, 155 West Spring Valley Road.

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The initiative is called Connect Centerville and is the brainchild of Megan LeMaster, the English Language Learner (ELL) coach for Centerville City Schools.

“In Centerville, we’ve had an influx of new families from other countries over the past few years, so we wanted to put together something to welcome those recently arrived families,” LeMaster said. “We also want to provide a space for the entire community to learn from many of the community organizations in Centerville who will be at the event to showcase who they are and what they do.”

In November, the event received its formal launch at a reception called We are Centerville, which was held at Tower Heights Middle School. Tonight’s reception will offer a chance to meet some of the families from other countries who are now living in the city.

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“We’ve invited the Rondalla Band from the We Are Centerville event to play throughout the evening and several Centerville families who have emigrated to the United States will be serving hot tea and coffee from their home countries,” LeMaster said. “For many cultures around the world, sharing a cup of tea is the starting place for any interaction. We hope this will be another opportunity for the community to come together and make connections.”

Community Relations Specialist Sarah Swan said the Heren Foundation USA donated $30,000 to Centerville Schools in support of the Connect Centerville initiative.

“We currently have 215 students who have been identified as English Language Learners, and their families speak more than 30 different languages,” Swan said. “The top four languages are Chinese, Arabic, a variety of Indian languages, and Spanish.”

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