Students from Pilsen, Chinatown making new friends

May 22, 2008 3:51:52 PM PDT
They live only a few blocks from Chinatown, but Thursday, a group of students from the Pilsen neighborhood crossed a cultural divide, learning a new language and making new friends.

Children from Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School in Pilsen visited the Chinese-American Museum in Chinatown, looking at Chinese artifacts and practicing Mandarin Chinese, a language they have been learning. This is a third language for these Latino children. Many of them are already fluent in English and in Spanish and now they are learning Mandarin Chinese.

"In the near future, you're going to be going to the world," said Ald. Danny Solis, 25th Ward.

The fourth grade children say Mandarin Chinese has been easy for them to learn

"It wasn't difficult for me. It was easy," said Itzel Gutierrez, Manuel Perez School.

"I'm learning," said Natalie Gutierrez, Manuel Perez School.

"I like the different pronunciations. I have been teaching my little brother and mom and dad some Chinese words," said Briana Sanchez, Manuel Perez School.

"We worked so hard all year to teach them about other cultures and about the similarities they show with other cultures and to respect the differences of other cultures," said Vicky Kleros, Manuel Perez School.

The next stop for the students was a visit to the St. Therese Chinese School across the street from the museum. They performed for the St. Therese students and got a chance to show off their Mandarin Chinese and dance moves.

"I thought that their dance was really nice. And I like their outfits," said Camill Yuen, St. Therese Chinese Catholic School.

"I think their dance was very nice. And they spoke mandarin very well," said Tommy Tsao, St. Therese Chinese Catholic School.

The Pilsen students have made some new friends in Chinatown. At lunch they ordered food in Chinese and visited throughout the community. In the future, the Chinese students well be visiting Pilsen.


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