A group of people new to learning the English language were recently celebrating their successes in song with a performance of You’ve got a friend in me by Randy Newman.
Students from the Open Learning Centre at New Directions School in Langley performed the song, made famous by the Toy Story franchise, during a recent graduation ceremony.
The school is part of the federal government’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program and works with the community in Langley to support new permanent residents and refugees by helping them learn English.
The performance took place on Nov. 20 in front of an audience of about 140 people, according to the school’s founder Yvonne Hopp.
“It was just absolutely heartwarming to see them all together to actually be able to sing such a difficult song… it was terrific,” she said.
The performance was coordinated by teachers, Patti Hastie, Anita Friesen and Rose Puszka.
Students who performed were ranged from pre-literacy to LINC 3 language programs, which are the more preliminary English levels, Hopp explained. The song was given out as a reading assignment.
“Some of the students in that group had started not having even gone to school in their home country… 12 of the students singing were in the pre-literacy class, just learning to read,” said Hopp.
Langley City Coun. Rudy Storteboom and RCMP Cpl. Kurt Neuman were at the celebration to award students certificates.
“It’s really important that we invite the community to help us celebrate their success, and we appreciate that they come and hand out certificates and stay to network with the students.”