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Friday, May 3, 2019

Spanish Honor Society promotes Spanish language and culture in community

WHS Spanish Honor Society
By Elizabeth Richards

The Spanish Honor Society (SHS) at Windham High School is a group of highly dedicated, high achieving students who enjoy Spanish and help promote the language and Hispanic culture in their community.

Club officers this year are Annika Johnston (President, senior), Maddie Fox (Vice President, senior), Emily Magoon (Secretary, junior), Annie Stevens (Treasurer, senior) and Sarah Symalla (Aguilitos coordinator, junior).

The club operates periodic Kids’ Night Out events to raise money for activities and scholarships. Parents can drop their children from preschool to fifth grade at the event, where they participate in Spanish related activities and games, Johnston said.

The event, which happens a few times each year, allows parents a chance to go out on their own, gives the students in the club a chance to spend time with the younger kids, and is a good fundraiser for the club, Magoon said.

Fox said that there are many children who return each time the event is held. When they leave, they say they’re already looking forward to the next one, she said.  “It’s just really great to have that experience with them and get them to start enjoying Spanish at a young age,” Fox said.

The next Kids’ Night Out won’t be until next school year. Parents of elementary children receive notice of the event through the school list serve.

Fundraisers support the annual $1000 scholarship the club awards to a graduating senior. The club also occasionally funds scholarships for students taking trips to other countries, Johnston said.

Since 2002, the club has offered a program, Aguilitos (little eagles), specifically intended to promote Spanish with younger children. Through this program, club members plan and present lessons to groups of elementary children on a regular basis.

Magoon said “It’s really cool to watch them learn and remember all these words and be able to put things together throughout the year.”  She said she enjoys the relaxed, but educational environment, and being able to nurture the younger kids and watch them grow.  This year, she said, the group she’s been with has completed several units, including colors, numbers, animals and days of the week.

Another activity of the SHS is a luncheon for staff, where club members bring in Spanish foods they have prepared. “That’s really cool too, to get to know more about the culture through cooking,” Magoon said.  She added that she thinks SHS is important because it gives her an opportunity for social connection in a different way.

“I think that what we’re doing is important, especially for those of us who really want to study in Spanish and foreign language,” Johnston said.  “Also, giving back to our seniors and elementary schoolers is an important aspect of what we do,” she added.

Magoon said “It’s really important, I think, to get kids involved in languages because of the way our world is today. There’s so much global interaction now, ways that we can talk to other people, and I think languages are really important for that. A lot of other countries start English early on, so I think it’s a really good opportunity that we provide here at WHS in getting kids involved early on.”

Advisor Trish Soucy said, “Being in SHS gives students the opportunity to spread cultural awareness,” said SHS Advisor Trish Soucy. “Being a part of these activities helps students make a connection with the Spanish they are learning in class and how it can be used in a positive way in the community.”

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