Students at First Coast High School will be the first in the district to have the opportunity to study Portuguese when a new language program begins in August.
First Coast High School Principal Debbie Smith and district representatives met with members of the Jacksonville Port Authority to learn about the major role that Brazil plays in the Florida economy and the impact it has on the First Coast.
During the meeting, Joshua Rodriggs, manager for trade development and marketing for the Jacksonville Port Authority, pointed out the direct connection Jacksonville has to Curitiba, Brazil, via economics, trade and education business interests.
Brazil is the number one trading partner in Florida and number two in Jacksonville, behind Puerto Rico.
A knowledge of Portuguese will give students increased employment opportunities throughout the state, and will connect them to Brazil, both economically and educationally.
"The extraordinary role Brazil is playing in the Jacksonville economy warrants the inclusion of a Portuguese language program, and we are excited to start one at First Coast High School," said Dr. Joanne Davis, supervisor of world languages for Duval County Public Schools. "It is important to implement language programs that benefit students who seek employment immediately after high school and those entering the workforce after pursuing a higher education."
Students at First Coast High School will have two options to study Portuguese: they can sign up for a year-long language class taught by Sueli Wilkerson, a teacher from Brazil, or they can take an intensive 12-week language program that will be administered by a business professional or parent.
The students enrolled in the language program will be matched with students from a sister school in Positivo, Brazil. Each classroom will create a small business corporation, electing leaders, developing a product and selling stocks to raise funds to purchase the goods or raw-materials to make the products. Students from Brazil will export their products and sell them to the students in Florida, and visa-versa.
The program will be administered by Junior Achievement of Florida’s First Coast and the Junior Achievement program coordinator for the Curitiba, Brazil local area.
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