The course has been surprisingly popular, filling five classes, KNBC's Kim Baldonado reported."The world is changing and we need to be more outward looking, and Arabic is one of those languages in which we don't have a lot of knowledge of," said assistant principal David Arenas.
There is a growing Lebanese population in Bell, Calif., but 90 percent of the students taking the class are Latino. Many are already bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, Baldonado reported.
"I have Arabic friends and I want to get to know them. I'm fascinated in Muslim religion. I want to see how it works," said student Ricardo Alvarado.
"My mom always tells me it's good to know other languages because in job interviews, it makes it easy to get a job," said student Jesse Felix.
Teacher Nada Shaath said it's thrilling how quickly the students are picking up the language, despite the added challenge of learning a new alphabet. "I was surprised the first day.
I looked at my roster and said, 'Oh my god, 96.' Probably because most of the kids have Arabic neighbors and they're hearing about it in the news," Shaath said.
After only a few months, the students say the classes are already breaking down barriers and creating new friendships, Baldonado reported.