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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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Passage To Piedmont

Lana Ivovich
Lana Ivovich

After a long 17 hour flight, Lana Ivovich was ready to start her new life in Piedmont. As Ivovich comes to her new house in Piedmont, she is greeted by familiar faces, but yet complete strangers.

“They’re family, but don’t feel like family. I didn’t remember them when I first met them, the last time I saw them was when I was very young,” Ivovich said.

Ivovich moved to Piedmont from Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, at the beginning of the school year. She lives with her uncle, aunt, and their two kids, but Ivovich said that they were very distant relatives. She didn’t get to see them close to ever because it was hard to get to America at the time, and her parents wouldn’t have been able to come with her. Ivovich is a citizen in America, and her parents are not.

“The biggest change was probably not living with my close family and not seeing them everyday, when I moved here I had to be independent and had to learn how to do stuff on my own,” Ivovich said.

On top of being new to Piedmont, which is a big change already, Ivovich was also new to the country. Being new to America came with a lot of differences, such as the language difference.

“I’ve been learning english since I was two years old, so I didn’t have any problem with a language barrier, but there are different types of english, so I kind of had to pick up what people around me were saying,” Ivovich said.

When foreign students move from a different country to America, like Ivovich, they are required to take an English proficiency test issued by the state. For California, students that are not residents are required to take the ELPAC (English Language Proficiency Assessments for California). 

“If you do badly on the test, you have to take another English class at Piedmont. Fortunately I did perfectly, the last one I took was two months ago, but I have to take another one before college,” Ivovich said. 

According to state and federal law, it is required that local educational agencies administer a state test of ELP to eligible students in kindergarten through grade twelve. The ELPAC is aligned with the 2012 California English Language Development Standards. It consists of two separate ELP (English language proficiency) assessments: one for the initial identification of students as English learners, and a second for the annual summative assessment to measure a student’s progress in learning English and to identify the student’s level of ELP.

“Lana is so smart in English class, you really can’t even tell she’s not from here. Her English is amazing,” senior Monte Imburg said.

Ivovich is currently a senior at Millennium High School, but takes classes at Piedmont. Because the graduation requirements are different at Piedmont than they were at her old school in Serbia, High School St Sava, she has to take two English classes, and US history and civics at the same time, in order to graduate.

“The school system was very different in Serbia. Mostly every aspect is so different here [Piedmont]. In Serbia, I got assigned double the work, and if you tried to turn something in late, there was no chance you would be able to. I also had to take three languages freshman year (2020-21), and I took 17 subjects per year, and people kind of freak out when I tell them that,” Ivovich said.

The reason why Ivovich moved her senior year (2023-24) was purely because of college. Her original plan was to move here during freshman year so the transition was easier, but COVID hit, so she had to come later. Ivovich said it looked better on college applications for her to go to an American high school for a year.

“I didn’t want to stay in Serbia for college. I heard a lot of things about American colleges, and it seemed like a better life than staying in Serbia. It was a big risk, but so far I’m glad I did it” Ivovich said.

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Sophie LaForte
Sophie LaForte, Staff Writer
Sophie LaForte (11) is a Staff Writer at TPH.  Outside of TPH she plays tennis, and enjoys spending time with friends. Her favorite color is red and she also likes baking.
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