BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- If it's not your first language speaking English can be tough. That's the case for hundreds of Brunswick County students who are struggling in the classroom. Over the past three years the Hispanic student population in Brunswick County has grown by about 75 percent. Now more than 500 English as a second language, or ESL, students attend schools throughout the county and they're getting the extra help they need. Student tutor Caley Sears said, "We use a lot of flashcards and drawings and stuff because they like drawing stuff, then learning it." Caley Sears is a senior at South Brunswick High School and every Monday she comes to Southport Elementary to tutor students: Hispanic students who may have trouble speaking English fluently, students who are having trouble keeping up in the classroom. Sears said, "They really, really try speaking English a lot, but if they come across a word that they don't know in English they'll immediately go into Spanish, so you really have to be on your toes." Right now about a dozen elementary students from Southport are getting extra help from these high school tutors. In Brunswick County there are more than 500 ESL students. Administrators say many of them are being tutored as well. "There are so many people in the community nowadays that do speak Spanish and it's really helpful to know it," Sears said. "You spend four years in high school learning stuff that you never really think you're going to use. Then you get to use something that you learned and actually apply it to a community setting and help the kids out. That's really great, bringing it to the community," Sears said. Student tutors and administrators say these tutoring sessions are producing great results. They say a majority of the students are now speaking much more English than they did when the sessions first began.
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