SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Kids all over KELOLAND are graduating this time of year.
But you won’t find any high school seniors in this next group we’re about to show you.
The Elementary Immersion Center at Jane Addams in Sioux Falls teaches kids in grades K-5 who are new to the country or don’t speak English.
A teacher I spoke with said the student body includes refugees and immigrants.
Utsarga Pradhan is reaching for the stars.
“My dream is to be an astronaut,” Utsarga Pradhan said.
His latest achievement will help him lift off toward his goal.
The 11-year-old is one of more than 60 kids graduating from the Elementary Immersion Center at Jane Addams.
Imani Embete is celebrating too.
Volk: How does it feel to be graduating today?
Embete: I feel excited and proud.
5th Grade teacher Andraya Peterson says it’s the program’s biggest group of graduates yet.
“Four our students it’s a big deal,” Teacher Andraya Pradhan said.
The students learn how to speak, read, and write in English while learning common school subjects such as math and science.
“We hope that when they go out into the community someone can speak to them and they’ll be able to respond and understand what that person is saying,” Peterson said.
She’s noticed kids becoming more confident as they make their way through the program.
“Really one of our goals is so that we can teach our children how to hold onto their own culture but assimilate and fit into our American culture so they know the expectations in our community,” Peterson said.
“I can do my dream, what my dream is,” Pradhan said.
…an out-of-this-world feeling for a future astronaut.
Now that the kids have graduated, they will attend schools in the district that offer English Language Learner programs.