North Point is a diverse school with students of different backgrounds and cultures, but the diversity dives deeper. Many students have a variety of activities and friend circles, but there is even more diversity in students’ cultures. At North Point there are students from different countries, with multiple ethnicities, and students who speak multiple languages.
All North Point students are knowledgeable in French or Spanish and even a few in Latin, but there are numerous students who speak more rare and exotic languages. The most popular rare language that is spoken is Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines, but there is also a student that speaks Russian.
Daniel Diazdelcastillo(’12) speaks Russian as his first language. Daniel is mixed with Russian, on his mother’s side, and Columbian, on his father’s side. Daniel is fluent in both Russian and English. “I learned them at the same time basically,” he said. He speaks Russian at home with his grandparents and English with his friends.
For Daniel speaking Russian and English isn’t that difficult. In his opinion, “They’re both the same.” Daniel keeps Russian and English separate in his conversations with friends, but if he happens to forget a word in English, he thinks of it in Russian. He said, “I typically think in Russian,” but English is his main language now. To Daniel knowing two languages makes him better-rounded. “I can talk to a large amount of people,” he said.
There is an abundance of students who speak Tagalog, including the Catugas siblings. Paul Catugas (’12), Tyronne Catugas (’13), and Darianne Catugas (’14) speak Tagalog at home and English at school. Tagalog is their first language. They all have been speaking English since they were little. Their parents started teaching them English while they lived in the Philippines.
Since the Catugas kids learned English at such a young age, it isn’t very different for them, though there are some challenges, specifically with slang. “I was better in formal English,” said Tyronne. Paul learned his slang by watching movies.
Even though the Catugas kids speak English all day at school, it doesn’t affect their Filipino culture. “I keep my Filipino culture and customs at home,” said Tyronne. Speaking English at school all day is a breeze for the Catugas kids now. “I’m used to it,” said Darianne, “and as long as you try your best it’s not that difficult.”