District 205 Reaches Out To Hispanics

ROCKFORD-) One-fourth of the students in Rockford School District 205 are Hispanic.  So the District is doing more to reach out to those students when it comes to athletics.

Many Hispanic students, like these Barbour Language Academy students play soccer.

Barbour’s coaches speak both Spanish and English.

"Seven players on my team speak Spanish," says Barbour soccer coach Angel Prez.

Soccer is part of the culture of many of these kids, other sports not so much.  Barbour has a hard time fielding a basketball team.

Barbour Language Academy has had trouble fielding 6th, 7th, and 8th grade basketball teams," says District 205 Activities Director Mat Parker.

So this fall for the first time District 205 held a basketball skills camp at Guilford that offered instruction in Spanish as well as English. The clinic was open to all students in the district.

Instructor Billy Lewis has an extensive background in Spanish.

"At Rockford College that was my major, and then after I earned my teaching degree I taught Spanish for six years," says Lewis.

"This (clinic) is an effort to target an area where there might not have been as much exposure or there’s a language barrier to try to generate excitement and to get more kids involved," says Parker.

"I think it’s something good for the Hispanic Community to try to get involved with the kids in a sport, and I think this is a good way to do it," says Jose Orenday a parent of one of the students participating in the basketball clinic.

Parker says it’s going to become increasingly important for the District to have coaches and staff members who can speak Spanish.

"To have bilingual and Hispanic coaches for the kids as well as for Barbour I think is very important. We’re trying to close those gaps and those barriers.

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