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December 12, 2018

12/6/2018 8:15:00 AM
2019 Amity Aide, Henry Linares, shares culture
by Shelby Russell


Most people are familiar with a language requirement in school. Everyone takes Spanish or French, or whichever language of choice for the hour long class while a teacher tests our conjugation skills. But how many people can say they've experienced a native Spanish or French spekaer in their classrooms? How many people realize these languages are more than just subjects taken for school, but rather entire skill sets? The students at Cannon Falls High School can speak to that.

Henry Linares is this year's intern at the high school. Henry is a 22 year old native Spanish speaker from Colombia. Staying with host families has made this opportunity possible for Henry, for the school staff, and for the students. Helping to teach a total of five classes this year, he has definitely kept himself busy.

Linares is on his way to becoming a teacher, this Amity Aide program counting both as part of his college as well as a step in his career. His goal is to become a bilingual teacher, not only to teach the language, but to be able to speak to his students of his experiences first-hand with the different cultures.

He says, "It adds so much more to be able to teach the culture as well as the language. I believe to master a language, you don't just learn the language. You're immersed in the culture, and you're always learning something new. There's always something new to learn."

Linares taught English for a year and a half before making his way to Cannon Falls for Amity Aide. Teaching in the future, he will be able to bring even more perspective and insight to his eager students.

As for the differences between his home in Colombia and the United States, he shares that everything is quite different here. Restaurants and the formality of businesses is a major difference between the two. "At home, you don't say I want a table, you just go get a table. You don't have long conversations with the waiters; it's just all very informal," he shares.

Among his favorite parts of his Minnesota stay are pop-tarts and plenty of food, the friendly nature of the people in town, the environment, and the fact that everyone is always smiling. Of course, his absolute favorite is the snow.

The Cannon Falls High School Spanish teacher, Anne Mellesmoen shares, "Henry's teaching style is activity oriented, and the students enjoy the days that he teaches. He is also able to share with them current culture and music."

Mellesmoen continues, "He is very helpful, his English is excellent, and he enjoys having good conversations."

Linares is temporarily staying with a host family in Hastings. A family is still needed to host him in Cannon Falls through February, with another family needed for him from March through May. Henry is 22 years old and would need his own room. Families provide meals at home, but not school meals.

Anyone interested may contact Anne at mellesmoen.anne@cf.k12.mn.us, or call 507-263-6800 ext. 3303, and leave a message.

Continuation of the Amity program in Cannon Falls iis dependent on finding families who are open to sharing their own culture with a young man or woman.

Not only does Linares share his language and culture with everyone in Cannon Falls, but families should also get to share theirs with him.



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