CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In West Virginia, all students planning to attend college have to have 25 credits to graduate from high school, and two of those credits must come from be foreign language classes. Many schools only offer two languages to chose from, usually Spanish and French.
According to the U.S. Census, America's second most spoken language (after English) is Spanish with 38 million people. Most students pick Spanish in high school because they think it's easier to learn and can come in handy when they get older. If you have Spanish as a second language, you may have more and better job opportunities in life.
However, plenty of other students choose French. For some of them, it's because they want to travel to the country in the future. For others, it's because French is seen as a romantic language.
Several students at Riverside were asked why they chose the foreign language class they did. Their answers were varied.
Freshman Kayla West said, "I want to learn French because I want to go to France as a foreign exchange student."
Freshman Terra Pridemore is also studying French. "I took French because it seems the most interesting of the two, and I've wanted to go to Paris for the longest time," she said.
"When I get older, I would need to know the local language in order to stay there the period of time I want to," she continued. "Plus, I find it really cool to be bilingual, and I've heard that French is the most romantic language."
Senior Tyler Fontalbert and sophomore Brooke Browning, on the other hand, are taking Spanish. The desire for a college education was the deciding factor for them.
"I took Spanish because I need a foreign language if I want to go to college," said Fontalbert.
"I picked Spanish because I want to go to college, and I also picked it because I've been to a Spanish-speaking country before," said Browning.
As you can see, everyone has his or her own personal reason for choosing a language to take. One thing they all have in common is they are thinking about college and their future.
This is very important to do when you are in high school. High school is a time were you start to make decisions about your future -- if and where you want to go to college, what kind of career you want, what kind of life you want and what you will be when you grow up. Studying a foreign language is just one of the first steps towards that future.