Spanish students do something new


Anna Powell

Sophomore Camille Khelseau (left) and junior Hairo Rivas (right) pose at the end of their performance. They performed at the Spanish competition.

For some high school students, Spanish is a course that is taken for the purpose of meeting a graduation requirement, while other students enjoy learning the language and communicating with people from different cultures and backgrounds.  Some of the SHS Spanish students woke up one early Saturday morning to participate in the Concurso Académico Español, which was a profound cultural experience.

Southport has a diverse population, including many Latino students. According to Spanish teacher, Mr. Conner McNeely, one way to embrace the cultural diversity is to attend the Academic Spanish Competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).

Schools from all around Indiana went to Zionsville High School and participated in the event in order to compete in activities centered around Spanish language and culture. Students took part in activities involving piñatas and posters, singing, dancing, and acting. They also had competitions involving the Spanish language itself, including vocabulary, scrambled sentences, impromptu speaking, and grammar. Although this was the first time Southport went to the competition, the students earned approximately 20 ribbons, which means students had to place in the top five contestants.

        McNeely, a new faculty member, wanted to see SHS students participate in this competition and be recognized for their achievements because he was intrigued to see that students from other schools were so excited to attend the competition.   

“One of the schools I interned at went to the competition, and students had an amazing time.  I want my students to receive recognition for their efforts and skills as well,” McNeely said.  

With such success at their first competition, McNeely will take students to participate in next year’s event as well.   

Quinton Stivers, senior, enjoyed his events.  Although he was nervous at first, he felt prepared for his competitions.  

“At first I wasn’t as comfortable with as I would have been if it were an English competition, however I’ve studied Spanish  through high school so I felt prepared when I arrived to the competition. My favorite activity was probably Scrambled Sentences where you had to pick the correct sentence that had no errors in it. It was pretty easy,  and I was one of the first to finish.”

Southport junior, Hairo Rivas, is a native speaker who attended the competition and was amused with the interactions during the competition. During the competition, students from many ethnicities and backgrounds were competing for ribbons and participation medals in Spanish events.   The highlight for Southport was when Rivas and sophomore Camille Khelseau took the stage to participate in a dancing competition, winning first place. At the end of the day, Rivas and Khelseau were asked to perform their dance in front of all of the students and teachers who were in the competition.  The excitement and exploration from the event amazed Hairo and other students, making them eager for next year’s competition.

“I would be delighted to partake in the events again next year. I really had fun and I would like to do it again,” Rivas said.