By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Anyone who wants to learn how to speak the Czech language now has a great chance.
A beginner’s Czech Language Class starts at 5:45 p.m. next Monday, Sept. 14 at Yukon Czech Hall, 205 N Czech Hall Road.
Weekly classes will be taught by Petra Hunter, a language professor from the Czech Republic who lives in Oklahoma.
“We are very excited about this opportunity and we hope lots of people will take advantage of it,” said Elaine Benda, member of Yukon Czech Hall and president of WFLA Lodge #67.
Although the school is geared toward adults, teens who are outstanding students in English language and grammar are welcome to enroll.
As the host site, Yukon Czech Hall is sponsoring the class.
This will be the second year that Hunter operates a Czech language school at the south Yukon venue.
“Last fall, she started a class with 13 people,” Benda said. “And it went extremely well.”
Those students now comprise an intermediate class.
The site of the Czech language classes has historical significance.
Yukon Czech Hall was built in 1901 on land donated by local Czech immigrants. The building has been the center of Czech-American culture in Oklahoma.
“The classes are at Czech Hall and there is room to social distance,” Benda said. “So, if anyone is a little hesitant, we have plenty of room to spread out for the class. It’s a good, safe place to be.”
Yukon Czech Hall truly has a special teacher for these language classes, according to Benda.
“Since the fall of communism, the Czech government has really been adamant about wanting people to keep the Czech language alive,” she said. “They do whatever it takes to further that.
“Petra was accepted into an elite program sponsored by the Czech government for teachers of the Czech language to non-Czech speakers. She is the only one in the group of 20 from the United States!”
About 1-1/2 years ago, Hunter (who has dual citizenship) got in contact with Benda.
“She had no idea that we had this Czech community down here in Yukon,” Benda said. “She wanted to start a language school, and I told her we always dreamed of having one at Czech Hall. We just didn’t have qualified instructor to do it.”
Yukon Czech Hall has hosted polka dances on Saturday nights since 1930, and traditionally is the site of the annual Czech royalty coronation ball as part of Czech Day.
But the 55th Annual Oklahoma Czech Festival set Oct. 3 was canceled this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
Although there will be no daytime festivities, members of Yukon Czech Hall are planning an evening celebration on the first Saturday in October. It will feature live music, food and dancing; more details to come.
To reserve a spot or for more information about the Czech Language Class that starts Sept. 14, contact Benda at email@example.com or (405) 721-4396.