The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Niles West High School Launches New Assyrian Language and Culture Course

An official logo representing Niles West’s new Assyrian Language and Culture course via @d219assyrian on Instagram.

A new Assyrian Language and Culture course is now available at Niles West High School, offering students the chance to learn about a new culture. Niles West, along with Niles North, are the first schools in Illinois to offer the Assyrian language as a course. 

33 percent of D219’s population is Assyrian. Many students and staff felt thrilled to hear that the school would offer the Assyrian language as a course. 

“I’m happy that we finally get the recognition we deserve and I feel honored to be one of the first people to take the course,” junior Julian Sheeno said. 

Many students who hold leadership roles in the Assyrian community at West rejoice.

“I was so happy when we found out we were getting our own course, I was literally crying. I was so excited that this was finally happening after years and years of trying. I couldn’t wait to learn more about my culture and I was so excited to spread it to people who don’t really know about it,” Assyrian Club president Lourdes Sheeno said. 

This course will help Assyrians keep their language and heritage alive, many students say.

“Growing up, I would always hear from others in the community that our language would soon be extinct. Having this course, especially with the amount of students taking it, really makes me feel that we are taking steps in the right direction. This will make our students stronger speakers, and more likely to teach, speak, and celebrate being Assyrian for the following generations,” Assyrian teacher Christine Yousif said. 

Students also believe that the addition of this course is already positively impacting and benefiting the school. 

“Just this second week of school I’ve learned more about my culture’s history and language in just this short amount of time. To say that these classes have impacted me is an understatement, to say the least. It feels amazing to see my school bring my language as a credited course and I’m excited for the younger generation to keep learning our culture and have us grow stronger,” senior Alyssa Khamoo said.  

Not only are Assyrian students excited for this new opportunity, but this new course may interest others from different backgrounds to learn a new language and culture.

“There are many Assyrians at Niles West, and not only that, but there are many Middle Easterns at Niles West. There aren’t any other Middle Eastern languages at our school and I feel that not only Assyrians can benefit from this but people from other Middle Eastern cultures can benefit from this too. We are all very similar and I think the people who don’t know anything about us can get educated about our culture and realize the recognition our culture deserves,” Sheeno said. 

Students will be able to learn more about the Assyrian culture and gain insights into the values and traditions. 

“People will now know who Assyrians are,” Assyrian Club sponsor Ramsen Sheeno said.



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