MHS student celebrates citizenship

MHS student celebrates citizenship

Kinal Mangukiya proud of ‘ my decision’

Marion School District Marion High School senior Kinal Mangukiya is what many may consider an above-average student.

She is taking four AP courses; Literature, Calculus, Chemistry and World History. And she apparently does very well in those subjects, since she will be an honor graduate and is in the top 10 percent of her class.

Even in Calculus, a word and/or subject that make many of us queasy and cause us to stare off into space, Kinal has the math know-how and takes it with ease and grace. She placed third in the regional during the Arkansas Council of Teachers of Mathematics contest at ASU Mid-South in March and will be competing at the state contest at UCA later this month.

She recently aced a test that, like Calculus, would make many of use queasy.

On her first attempt, Kinal passed the U.S. Citizenship test.

“It was not really difficult,” she said, accenting that statement with a really big smile.

Kinal was born in Gujarat, India, and immigrated with her family to the U.S. five years ago. They lived in Missouri and Illinois before moving to Marion less than four years ago.

Although English is spoken and taught in school in her native country, and Kinal had few problems with the language, she has been enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) class since she arrived in this country.

“Kinal has done well,” said Walt King, ESL instructor for the Marion district. “English has been taught in Indian schools for a many years, but Kinal had to learn the academic language, which is different and difficult.”

King said that English is a major component in the citizenship test and anyone coming into the test with English abilities did not meet the standard would have a lot of difficulty passing the exam.

There are 60 students in the ESL program at Marion. King said he does not meeting with each student every day but will see most of them at least once a week and some more often. Kinal said she is getting a great education at MSD and has made many friends here.

Although life as a teenager in the U.S. is different than in India, Kinal said there was not much of a culture shock. “At home, we still live an Indian life.”

She said the biggest difference was in her home country, families always live in the same area but in the U.S., family members tend to live away from each other. “Marion is a really good school. I have learned so much here,” she said. Her brother graduated from MHS in 2013 and is attending the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

She is planning to follow her brother and learn to “Call the Hogs” after graduation. She and King are working on scholarships toward that goal.

Kinal will be sworn in as a U.S. citizen on Friday, May 20, the day after graduation from MHS. And she will proudly tell you that the decision to become a U.S. citizen was “my decision.”

By Mike Douglas