Being bilingual can change a life


Andrea Vidaurre

Spanish 6 meets every red and white day. Spanish 5 and 6 have class together.

As the school year is coming to close and seniors are preparing for the next step in their education, many think about what they plan to do with the rest of their lives. For several SHS seniors, Spanish is in their future. Of the top 20 students in the class of 2017, 8 students study an advanced-level language, with 6 studying Spanish. Bailey Fields, Jacob King, and Mikayla Whittemore are in the highest level  of Spanish. They all agree that studying Spanish has aided them with getting into the top of their class and all plan to continue studying the language once they graduate from SHS.

“Spanish has helped me get to the top 20 because it’s a pretty challenging class, and pushing myself to do well in that class helps my overall work ethic in school,” said senior, Jacob King.

King plans to study biomedical engineering while minoring in Spanish to help with a successful career. King hopes to study abroad, preferably in Spain or Chile and explains how Spanish has always been an interest of his. Having begun their language-learning journey in elementary school, these top students agree that starting early has been beneficial to becoming proficient in the language.

“I think it would be much harder to be in a language if I hadn’t gotten started with it when I was younger,” senior, Mikayla Whittemore said.  

Whittemore believes that that the skills she has learned in language have also contributed to her being in the top 20 of her class. At theuniversity, she plans to minor in Spanish and double major in international studies and political science.  In the future, she plans to study abroad and live the language. Not only does Whittemore enjoy speaking Spanish,  but also explains how much she likes to write and read in Spanish as it opens a whole new world for her.  

These top seniors share their interest in Spanish for many of the
same reasons and agree that learning the language has helped them with their
academic success.

Erin Sullivan, valedictorian of her graduating class, also plans to minor in Spanish and pursue a major in business.  She believes Spanish will help her if she gets involved in international business. Like the advanced Spanish students, Sullivan has been involved in this language since elementary school and has always been interested in being bilingual.  Though language learning can be difficult, it helps build skill for academic success.  

“You have to have a different mindset going into the class because it really challenges you and everything you know,” Sullivan said.

Learning Spanish has been of great value to Sullivan as well, and she would like to have the opportunity to study abroad and to travel in college in order to build her language skills.

Athough only 6 of the top 20 are involved inSpanish, all of those who are in advanced Spanish agree that learning thislanguage has built skills that have helped them make it to the top 20 of their graduating class. The overall structure of the class has provided opportunitiesto help each student challenge himself and encourage further language study.

Each student has had his or her own reasons being interested in the language but overall, studying Spanish has engaged each of them to become life-long language
learners. While these students are not planning to study Spanish as their major area of study, they have each acknowledged the value of being bilingual. They plan to study abroad in order to hone their language skills and incorporate these skills into their careers.  

For these top students, Spanish is more than just a class to meet a graduation requirement. Spanish is a way of life, an opportunity to broaden their experiences further their careers.