Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine’s Day
For some people Valentine’s Day is just a normal and very commercial day, but for many others it is the day to exchange candy, flowers, and gifts between loved ones. But who is St. Valentine and why do we celebrate this holiday?

There are various popular and interesting legends of St Valentine's Day. One says that it originates from the Roman celebration called Lupercalia. According to Wikipedia, it was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral festival, observed on February 13 through 15 to prevent evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility.
Apparently men and women in Lupercalia drew names from a jar to make couples, and modern Valentine's letters originated from this custom. It says that this custom was combated by priests by replacing it with a religious custom of girls drawing the names of apostles from the altar.

Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine's Day had become common.
At Language Systems International we loooove Valentine’s Day, so this year each school had its own party. At LSI Los Angeles, students enjoyed music and a wonderful chocolate fountain with delicious strawberries, pretzels, marshmallows and bananas. Our Program Coordinator in LA, Ligia, held a huge heart balloon (which she referred to as her heart) all day to bring the V-day spirit to school!

At LSI Alhambra and LSI Orange County they played the amazing Dating Game. Our PC in OC,  Ty,  and our teacher in Alhambra, Erber, did a great job as MCs of the “show” making students laugh and have a great time!!! The couples won movie tickets for their first date!!! At each school students also enjoyed delicious pizzas, candies, heart-shaped cookies, etc.

At LSI Torrance students pinned the Heart on The Teacher! The students were really excited about this game and they all wanted to participate. The winner s also got movie tickets! And all students enjoyed corndogs, cupcakes, cheesecakes, fruits, heart-shape cookies, sodas, etc.

It was so much fun! Thank you everybody for making Valentine’s Day so special for us!!! J

Did you know?
Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas?

For more information about LSI’s activities and pictures please visit 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Whale Watching with Torrance and Alhambra

On Thursday, February 9, students from the Alhambra and Torrance campus joined together to go whale watching at Redondo Beach. Almost 90 students participated in the activity, which took us out into the Pacific Ocean, across from the Palos Verdes peninsula and Catalina Island. It was a great day to be out there. The weather was sunny and warm, and LSI students had almost the entire boat to themselves.

The excitement started almost as soon as we left the dock. The boat’s captain told us he could see whales just outside of the harbor. But first, we stayed in the harbor while dolphins sw
am up to and around our boat. They came right up to the sides and would pop their heads out of the water, like they wanted to play with us! They seemed so friendly and
intelligent – we really enjoyed being so close to them.

Almost as soon as we left the harbor, the captain sighted the whales. The first whales we saw were fin whales. Fin whales are the second longest whale, and can grow up to 90 feet (27 meters) long. We saw a pair of whales swimming together. First, we saw their blow, which is the water they blow into the air from the hole on top
of their heads. After that, the whales “fluked,” which means they lifted their back fin high out of the water, right before they dived deeply underwater. These whales were a little hard to see because they are fast and only stayed on the surface for a short time.

As we continued to sail on the ocean, the captain pointed out different types of sea birds and animals that were flying over or floating on the ocean’s surface. Did you know that sea lions will float on their side and stick one flipper into the air to absorb the Sun’s heat and warm their bodies when they are cold? If they get too hot, they wait until the air above the ocean is cool and stick their flipper up again, this time to cool themselves down. We saw several sea lions doing this.

Suddenly, the captain had us look into the distance off the left side of the boat – two gray whales were out there swimming. By law, commercial boats (like the one we were on) have to stay at least 300 yards (274 meters) awa
y, but it was still very easy to see their blow. Soon, one of the whales rose out of the water in an arc, and then went below again. Like the fin whales, these whales swam in pairs. The captain was excellent in predicting where and when the gray whales would come to the surface again. He circled the boat around so we could get a closer look.

After about three hours on the ocean, we headed back to the dock. Nature wasn’t done with us yet. Shortly before we entered the harbor, another gray whale made an appearance. This time, we were close enough to see the large white spots common on the whale’s body. Finally, as we entered the harbor, a small group of seals played near the entrance and allowed us to watch them. All in all, it was a fantastic trip, one I’m sure LSI students will remember for a long time!