Florence Kane '20 and Sophie Torres '19 have received honors from the National Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica (Spanish Honor Society or SHH).
Junior Florence Kane won the SHH's Bertie Green Travel Award for this summer. She is among 24 students chosen from all over the United States for the award, based on a video interview, an essay in Spanish, a list of activities, recommendations, and a transcript. Florence will travel with these students and officials from the national SHH office to Peru for a ten-day, all-expenses paid trip.
Florence noted that she is one of few students from this area to have been chosen. "I'm excited to meet the other students," she said. "We already have a group chat and they seem invested. We speak in Spanish." She's looking forward to traveling to South America for the first time and better understanding the way of life of the Peruvian people; of course, she's also thrilled to get to see Machu Picchu.
Florence is eager to immerse herself in the culture and language. Speaking Spanish is a skill she wants to better master to be able to use in the future. She recalled that in fourth grade, she had to make the choice between French and Spanish - and her family encouraged her to study Spanish because of how valuable it would be. "It's a huge asset to a profile, and to someone who is growing up in this era and area," said Florence. She's considering how she might tie the language to a degree in psychology, as a teacher or social worker one day.
Sophie Torres '19 has been awarded the organization’s Joseph Adams Senior Scholarship for the coming year. She is one of 12 students nationwide to win the $2,000 scholarship. She was chosen based on a written essay in Spanish, a video interview, a list of activities, transcript, and recommendations.
She worked with Spanish teacher and SHH moderator Christy Joria for two weeks in her free time to prepare her application; the video interview was particularly difficult. "I had to prepare and sound casual at the same time," she said. "I'd memorize bullet points but expand in the moment using my Spanish. We had to do a couple of takes to get everything right."
Sophie currently takes AP Spanish, and came to Visitation having studied the language in middle school. "I've had some really great teachers that have fostered a love of learning the language for the sake of learning it, and learning about other cultures, rather than something that is required," she said.
Sophie noted that Senora Joria has been the greatest influence on her academic career in Spanish. "Her class was one of the hardest, but I ended up enjoying it, and I learned so much," she said. "I have her for homeroom now ... Being in her class started a great relationship and we've just continued that." She is incredibly grateful to all her Spanish teachers: John Arias, Aldo Martinez, Sarah Monnerat, and Joria.