3/29/2013 10:23:00 AM CF students get Spanish 1st hand
by Ken Haggerty
Students in Cannon Falls High School Spanish classes are again benefiting from having a native Spanish speaker in the classroom through the Amity student teacher intern/exchange program, made possible in part by funding from the Cannon Falls Education Foundation and the generosity of volunteer host families.
Spending the school year in Cannon Falls is Daniel Lopez, from Valladolid, the capital city of the region of Castile and Leon in northwestern Spain.
Lopez has a degree in Industrial Design and a Masters in Teaching. He said he always wanted to come to America and this program is allowing him to experience America while he betters his Teaching skills and his English skills.
He said the current economy is very tough in Spain, so it was a good time to take a year off and try to improve his resume. After the school year, he plans on traveling America for a few months before returning home and looking for full-time employment.
During his stay here, he has been hosted by Paul Broenen and Saffron Emerson and Mary and Barry Venn. The Spanish teachers will be looking for host families for next year's Amity intern. Please contact either of the two Spanish teachers at the high school, Lynn Mercer or Anne Mellesmoen, at 507-263-6800, if interested.
Hosts, students and teachers at the school have exposed Lopez to a number of new experiences including snowmobiles, hockey, the Timberwolves basketball team and monster trucks. He says the food is different but good, noting that he has been amazed at all the different uses of hamburger and how so many recipes are just called "hot dish."
For the students, Lopez provides the Spanish classes with current cultural knowledge that is left out of books and provides an insight of what life is really like in a Spanish-speaking country. He has also taught the class how to better speak to and understand a native Spanish speaker.
Mercer says Daniel does presentations every month about different topics. He has created a cooking video to help students learn how to prepare a typical dish from Spain. Students enjoy talking to him about music and sports in Spain. Students are learning about their own language by helping Daniel perfect his English and trying to answer his questions about how things are said in English.
Lopez has also worked with Community Education and taught classes to Elementary students after school and to adults at night.