September 25, 2018
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  • French and Spanish teams from Chesapeake High School earned first-place wins at World Language Day, which was hosted by Anne Arundel Community College on March 23.
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    French and Spanish teams from Chesapeake High School earned first-place wins at World Language Day, which was hosted by Anne Arundel Community College on March 23.

Chesapeake High’s French And Spanish Teams Win At World Language Day

Judy Tacyn
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April 17, 2018

Jodie Hogan, an assistant professor of Spanish at Anne Arundel Community College, started a World Language Day competition for county high school students four years ago because “we believe in a maintaining a strong partnership between the college and Anne Arundel County Public Schools and wanted to host an event that celebrates what AACPS students are doing in the language classroom.”

The goal of World Language Day is to provide Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ advanced Spanish and French students an opportunity to be recognized for their language abilities and knowledge of the cultures they study.

“Students in the 21st century live in a world that is rich with culture and various perspectives,” Hogan said. “Technology has created a world where many of these students will eventually be working, either directly or virtually, with people around the world. As a result, it is important for our students to develop strong communicative skills that are based on appreciating, understanding and exploring cultural similarities and differences.”

All 12 Anne Arundel County high schools are invited to the AACC-hosted competition for language students studying French and Spanish. The academic competition includes matches in language, culture and geography. In addition, schools prepare a poster, photo and T-shirt. During the daylong event, students have a great experience meeting their peers from other schools and enjoying the friendly competition. This year’s theme was “Exploring Language and Culture.” The event was held March 23.

The competitions are for Level III French students and Level IV Advanced Placement Spanish students. Schools may bring up to six students for each team. This year, teams from Chesapeake, Severna Park, South River, Arundel, Old Mill and Annapolis high schools participated.

Teams earn points in three academic competitions, and the team that earns the most total points is declared the winner. When the points were tallied, the French and Spanish teams from Chesapeake High School earned first-place wins.

“Since language is a skill that builds, students are really preparing for the competition all of the time,” said Carol Bak, Chesapeake High School’s department chair for world and classical languages. “In Anne Arundel County, we focus on communication skills in the three basic areas of interpretive, interpersonal and presentational communication. We incorporate authentic resources such as videos, readings, graphics and music with each lesson. Students also learn to appreciate various cultures through classroom and situational experiences.”

Members of Chesapeake’s winning Spanish team were Alexis Bianco, Thea Kellett, Morgan Lambert, Donavar Dredden, Miguel Oliveira and Veronica Oliveira. The team was sponsored by Carol Bak. The French team included Holly Boggs, Hannah Klien, Kate Kinter and Abby Mollick. They were sponsored by Kristen Hudgins.

Veronica Oliveira, a junior, plans to study Spanish and Portuguese in college. “It is important to learn other languages because learning another language and culture makes you want to explore and travel the world,” she said.

Donovar Dredden is a senior who will attend Anne Arundel Community College in the fall. “I liked being with all of the schools and I liked the activities and the food,” he said. “I learned to cooperate and have fun with Spanish. I believe it is important to learn languages and cultures to be more aware of how the world is developing today.”

Alexis Bianco was the Spanish team captain. She will attend Duke University in the fall and study medicine. “I will probably study Spanish in college and obtain either a minor or certificate for Spanish,” she said. “Learning languages is important because it helps everyone be treated the same. [As an example,] in the medical field, being bilingual would greatly improve the quality of medical care.”

Thea Kellett will study in Spain this fall. Kellett has been accepted to study Spanish at Middlebury College in Vermont, one of the most prestigious schools for languages in the country.

Morgan Lambert will study at University of California, Davis, and will continue her Spanish studies. She is currently studying Arabic at AACC.

Bak hopes students gain confidence in their abilities and learn to have fun with the language that they are studying.

“It is important to study languages because they expand our reach,” Bak said. “We live in a global society, and languages help us to communicate and understand other perspectives. Learning a second language helps us to better understand our own language, and multilingual students have a competitive edge in the job market and build relationships with a greater population.”


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