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VSL Filipino students continue to promote language learning and cultural enrichment 

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Maria Smith
Maria Smith
Maria Smith is the former Chairperson of the Australian Filipino Community Services, a non-profit organisation based in Victoria.

Amidst a hectic schedule preparing for end-of-year exams, Filipino students at the Victorian School of Languages (VSL) at Dandenong High School celebrated Language Week on September 16 to continue to promote the love for our Filipino language and culture while growing in a foreign land.

Guest speaker, VSL-Southeast Area Manager Heather Rae excitedly welcomed teachers, parents and students, particularly acknowledging Mrs Rebecca Perez for her passion and hard work to always bring out the best and maximise results for her VCE students in Filipino language learning and organising the annual Filipino Language Week celebration.

Area Manager Rae reiterated that the Filipino community (particularly in the southeast) is growing significantly, with Census 2021 showing Australia’s Filipino population remains the fifth largest among migrants. Rae also encouraged everyone to spread the word about the VSL and that it is here to support the community, particularly in language learning and hopes that there will be more Filipino students/classes in the coming years. She also praised the VCE students for their hard work and dedication, wishing them every success in the upcoming VCE written and oral exams.

Attended by parents, former students and teachers, the simple celebration was meaningfully successful as students performed the Carinosa (pronounced karinyosa which literally translates to ‘affectionate’), a popular traditional Filipino ‘dance of love’. There was a segment when the dancers picked partners from the audience to teach them the Karinyosa dance steps as part of the program.

Victorian School of Languages students 2
Victorian School of Languages students
Victorian School of Languages

Brothers Scott and John Cinco sang Ikaw at Ikaw (You and You), former student Cayden Dacion sang Minsan Lang Kitang Mamahalin (I will love you once only), and prospective student Bella Butra confidently performed Magpakailanman (literally translates to forever). Gavin Beltran recited “Ang Wika Ko”, conveying the message of how our native Filipino language may struggle to survive to keep itself rich and pure against any new or adopted language such as English. 

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A tongue-twister competition provided an entertaining segment for everyone attempting to make hilarious attempts of pronouncing tricky tongue-twisting phrases a number of times with no success. Former teacher Smith shared the importance of tongue twisters in practising proper pronunciation of Filipino words, enhancing fluency in conversational speaking and exercising the mouth muscle, particularly with the dominance of English Language usage at Australian schools and workplaces. Guest student Bella and Year 11 Gavin won their tongue-twisting challenges, receiving a donation prize each of a brand-new Filipino-English dictionary and a giant bar of Cadbury chocolate.

Before sharing some sumptuous Filipino delicacies, Mrs Perez likewise thanked the students for their efforts to make the celebration meaningful, practising performances amidst their hectic exam period timeline for October and November in both mainstream and VSL weekend schools. 

The Victorian School of Languages started in 1935, now teaching over 40 languages in various centres around Victoria, including regional places, catering for about 13,000 students face-to-face and around 1,500 online. For more information on enrolments and availability of classes, please visit the Victorian School of Languages website.

Maria Smith
Maria Smith
Maria Smith is the former Chairperson of the Australian Filipino Community Services, a non-profit organisation based in Victoria.

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