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Scouts take worldly approach to citizenship

Census data shows that Hispanics compete with African-Americans as the largest minority groups in the United States, and Hispanics are already the largest minority group in Harrison County, said Eric Schulze and Asher Pursell as they made a case for Spanish education before Lanesville’s school board on Jan. 20.
The speakers and their colleagues from Boy Scout Troop 525 of Lanesville were working on their Citizenship in the Community merit badges, which are required for advancement to Eagle Scout.
Schulze, assistant senior patrol leader, and Pursell, assistant patrol leader, were introduced by Senior Patrol Leader Chris Ehalt and accompanied by several troop members and Scout leaders.
They brought a petition of 117 signatures to the board to show support from the student body for adding Spanish to Lanesville Junior-Senior High School’s curriculum.
‘Where there is a will, there is a way, and, if you will consider our request, we know that you will find a way to make this possible for our school,’ said Pursell.
Responding to the Scouts’ request, Supt. Phil Partenheimer said the school has entertained the idea of hiring a Spanish teacher, and, in fact, attempted to fill a part-time position but was unable to entice a Spanish teacher to leave a full-time career.
If Lanesville’s enrollment continues to grow at its current rate, and the state’s funding formula accommodates that increased enrollment, Lanesville should be able to create a full-time position for a Spanish instructor, Dr. Partenheimer said.
Lanesville offers three years of French ‘ required for the Academic Honors Diploma. Students advancing to French IV are often combined with a French III class and given additional instruction.
Though Spanish may be hindered more by finance than desire at Lanesville, the scouts ‘did their homework’ Partenheimer said, adding, ‘They get an A+.’
‘The first challenge is that there are not enough Spanish-speaking people in the workplace to provide services for our economy,’ Pursell said.
‘Schools throughout Indiana now not only have Spanish in their curriculum, which is the first step, but also have Spanish teachers that teach English as a second language to Hispanic students, which is the second step,’ Schulze said.
Spanish is the second most widely used language in the United States with about 28.1 million speakers, and the Spanish population is supposed to triple from its 2003 total of 35.3 million by 2005 acording to the Census Bureau, the scouts said.