School Spotlight: New Millennium Academy Preserves Hmong Culture
Eighth grade student Karina Yang doesn’t take life in America for granted.
“I’m amazed at how Hmong people came from such a rough background. And now we’re here today and its surprising that I’m also here,” Karina said.
Embracing the Hmong culture more than ever, Karina realizes the magnitude it carries.
“It is important because we don’t have our own country,” she said. “My parents are getting old and sometimes their grammar isn’t as good as it was before so I need to keep learning Hmong and do my best.”
New Millennium Academy has 770 students, 85% are Hmong. The school opened up in 2005 following the large wave of refugees from Thailand.
“In fact about 15 to 20,000 Hmong refugees are resettled here in the Twin Cities, Minnesota,” explained Kevin Xiong, the New Millennium Business and HR Director.
Unfortunately, school officials admit the younger generation is losing the Hmong language and culture.
Teaching Hmong Culture
However at New Millennium Academy, students are taught to advocate for themselves. They are also taught to be proud of their origin of culture.
To preserve the culture, Hmong class is a required elective and has been for years.
Each day students K-5 are immersed in the Hmong culture for about 45 minutes. The middle school level gets 58 minutes of Hmong class.
“They learn everything form language, culture, history and understanding dynamics of family,” Xiong explained.
“Basically I learn the history of Hmong and how people survived in such a way like the refugee camps,” 8th grade Evan Vang added.
At the charter school, students learn to embrace their differences, in hopes of making the world a better place.
“Essentially diversity drives innovation and so we teach all our scholars that,” said Xiong.
New Millennium Academy serves K-8th grade. The school relocated from North Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center three years ago.