| By Jason C. Mattox
A Sardis teenager has developed a passion for learning foreign languages, and the Sardis Public Library has tapped into his talents, offering Spanish classes for children and adults.
Ciardi Love, son of Juanwanda Love, teaches Spanish to children and adults as part of his job at the Sardis Public Library. But that’s not the only foreign language he knows.
Love, who will be a senior at North Panola High School this fall, has also learned Portuguese, French, Japanese, Arabic and Hindi.
"I started learning the languages when I was four years old," he said. Spanish was the first language he learned.
Love said he not only took online classes but also had tutors his mother found in the Memphis area who would come to his home in Sardis.
"My mother made the decision at first," he said. "But as I got older, I really loved learning the different languages.
"It has allowed me to make friends in Mexico, Puerto Rico and other countries," Love added. He communicates with pen pals via regular mail and e-mail.
Love, who is most fluent in Spanish, considers learning other languages a hobby and has set of goal of 25 languages.
He has been teaching others Spanish during the summers and on Tuesday afternoons for approximately two years.
"[Librarian] Miss Charlene [Bradford] came to me a couple of years ago and asked if I would be interested in teaching a Spanish class," he said. "It was one of the new year plans for the library."
Love has been instructing about 45 children in weekly classes this summer at the library, in addition to continuing his year-round adult Spanish class on Tuesday evenings. About ten adults attend.
Love said his adult students are the ones who take the most away from the lessons.
"I think it is wonderful when older people show an interest in learning something new," he said. "Most people would say they have learned enough and want to teach me, but these people have been very open to the experience.
"The children I have," Love added, "they want to play and do something other than focus on Spanish."
As for gauging the progress of his students, Love said his students do take tests.
"It has been fun to watch them all as they improve," he said. "They all tell me they speak Spanish whenever they get the chance to."
Bradford said she is thankful to Love, who works at the library shelving books, for his time leading the class.
"Everyone knows about the budget crunch we have experienced," she said. "I was able to use his hours to allow for the Spanish class, and the rest of us handled his shelving duties.
After high school, Love plans to purse a degree in either the science or law field, where he hopes to make excellent use of the languages he knows.
For more information on this program and others offered at the Sardis Public Library, contact Bradford at 662-487-2126.
Ben Floyd contributed to this story.