Students involved in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Hampton Bays Elementary School celebrated their heritage with each other and their families with the sixth annual “Bilingual/ESL Dinner” on Thursday, January 21.

Approximately 100 children and their family members turned out for the dinner, many of them bringing traditional dishes from their countries of origin, including taquitos, empanadas, arroz con pollo and pizza. 

There are approximately 180 children who are either bilingual or who receive ESL services at the elementary school. The countries represented by these students are from all points of the globe: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Lithuania, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Ukraine and Africa. Non-English languages spoken include Spanish, Polish, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Turkish and French.

In addition to sharing a meal together, families in attendance were entertained by the St. Cecilia Band and also learned about different programs to help them adjust to life on the East End. Resources and information packets on the New York State English as a Second Language Assessment test, parent tips and reading programs were handed out to all.