5 Star Student: Learning a new language

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Lock Dolinger was adopted from China when he seven-years-old. At that time, he could barely speak English.

The only way he could communicate with his adoptive parents was through drawing.

Now, four years later, no drawings are needed.

Lock is a fourth grader at Chilhowie Elementary School.

When he recalls his first day of school, it's not the best memory.

"I didn't know what I was doing. I was nervous on the first day of school," said Lock.

His teachers took note of his nerves.

"One of the things Lock really struggled with was that in China, you had to fight for your meals. So, it was hard to teach him that the other children weren't out to get him-- that they were his friends," said the school's English Language Coordinator, Hillary Snodgrass.

"Lock was adopted from a very, very poor providence in China," explained Lock's mother, Becky Dolinger.

It took some time for Lock to adjust from life in a Chinese orphanage, to life with a family in America.

But now, Southwest Virginia is his home.

"He is very determined. He's not a quitter. Lock will never quit anything," said Becky.

He's so dedicated to school that he hasn't missed a day since he started.

"If I don't miss any school days this year, this will be my fourth year of perfect attendance. I haven't missed anything," said Lock.

Outside of school, he practices taekwondo,

"He loves taekwondo. I wanted him to be involved in some kind of sport, and taekwondo is what he chose," said Becky.

Lock says he wanted to do taekwondo to learn how to protect his family.

When he's older, he says he'd like to return to China and do missionary work.

"They don't know about Jesus in China. So, that's why I'm thinking about being a missionary. Then they can learn about god and go to heaven," said Lock.

Lock's persistence to keep learning and be the best student he can be make him a 5 Star Student.

If you know an outstanding student like Lock, send an email to

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