Osseo and Park Center senior high students went to the Minnesota Capitol to celebrate and honor Hmong-Lao Veterans Memorial Day on May 14. Ninety students who are in the Hmong for Native Speakers courses at both high schools sang the song "Hmoob Lub Kua Muag" (as shown in the picture at left). The students were also greeted by Governor Tim Walz (as shown in the picture on the right). Students and brothers Chayeng and Keng Yang performed the qeej, a reed pipe musical instrument.
The Hmong for Native Speakers courses began at Park Center Senior High in the 2017-18 school year, and thanks to increased student interest, the program has expanded to being offered at both Park Center Senior High and Osseo Senior High. There are currently two courses, Hmong for Native Speakers I and II, which focus on the development and strengthening of Hmong reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Students also study Hmong history and culture. Learn more about these courses by watching this Staff Spotlight video featuring Pang Yang, one of the courses’ co-creators.
The Minnesota Legislature designated May 14 Hmong-Lao Veterans Memorial Day, a new state holiday, to honor the people who supported the U.S. in the Secret War in Laos. Learn more.
Lindsay Lee, a ninth-grader at Park Center Senior High, was asked by the event organizers to sing the national anthem, as shown in the photo below. Lindsay was selected because of her confidence and her experience singing in front of large crowds, which she's been doing since she was 10 years old. By singing at the Capitol, Lindsay was able to honor her grandfather, Lieutenant Chia Va "Thomas" Vang, who was one of the original special guerrilla unit (SGU) soldiers and lobbied at the state and national levels to ensure SGU soldiers received recognition as U.S. war veterans. Her voice and talents helped to honor his legacy.
(Photography credit for the photo of Lindsay Lee goes to CasaImpressions.)