Bearden High selected as only state school to offer Arabic to students

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WLVT)-- Bearden High School hallways are full of inquiring minds. Perhaps one of them will cure cancer, fight crime or even travel the globe for mission work.

Whatever path they choose, the students will take with them a different way to both see and—more importantly—hear the world that can only be learned in a Bearden classroom.

"It's known to be really difficult," said Ghadeer Rashed, student at Bearden High School.

Bearden is the only school in Tennessee to offer its students a chance to learn Arabic as a foreign language.

Rashed told Local 8 News she'll sign up in the fall, but for different reasons than her classmates.

"My vocabulary isn't that wide," said Rashed. "I wanted to take Arabic so I can learn the language better," she continued.

The Iraqi native said she lost the language when she started school in the states seven years ago, proving one loses what they don't use.

Rashed said the hardest part of learning Arabic is nuances, especially when pencil hits the paper.

"it has a lot of accent marks and those kinds of things, so it'll be a bit difficult," said Rashed.

Teachers said their students are up for the challenge

"In terms of career and college readiness, this is a very relevant language opportunity for them as well since we are becoming a global society," said Rachel Harmon, Assistant Principal at Bearden High School.

There's a major perk for the school, too. The U.S. Department of Education is footing the bill, at least for a year. Regardless of the price tag, the return on the investment is priceless.

"It's just a year-long grant, but we would love to continue to program if it proves successful," said Principal Harmon.

As for Rashed, when she leaves the hallways for good, she'll walk into her future with a newfound road map of her culture.