Three Feehan students win national Spanish language awards - CS Alliance

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Three Feehan students win national Spanish language awards

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Bishop Feehan High School students Mia Almanzar (junior), Rohit De (sophomore) and Haley McGee (junior) have won national Spanish language awards. MARK STOCKWELL/THE SUN CHRONICLE

ATTLEBORO — Three Bishop Feehan High School students have been honored with national Spanish language awards and can now participate in a travel program this summer.

Attleboro resident Haley McGee, 17, a junior at the Feehan, received a Bertie Green Junior Travel Award from the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, a Spanish honor society for high school students. Recipients of the award can take a one-week trip to Costa Rica to immerse themselves in the language and culture and take part in community service.

McGee started taking Spanish her first year at Feehan. She was inspired to learn the language as a child. Although not Hispanic herself, McGee says she grew up with many Spanish-speaking friends and family members.

Applying for the award required a video interview submission and an essay, both in Spanish, as well as an academic transcript and list of extracurriculars.

“I thought I might as well try since I know how much I love the Spanish language,” McGee said.

Another junior at Feehan, Mia Almanzar, 16, of Providence, recently received a National Spanish Exam Junior Immersion Scholarship due to excellent performance on the 2022 National Spanish Exam. To earn the scholarship, she had to submit an application that also included written responses, an interview and a video recording.

Through the scholarship, Almanzar will travel to Costa Rica this summer for a separate immersive program, including cultural activities, community service and a home stay.

Both of her parents are from the Dominican Republic, so Almanzar has been speaking the language at home since childhood. But, she said, “I don’t really get to speak Spanish a lot outside of my home and my class.”

“I really enjoy speaking the language and trying to perfect it,” she said.

Sophomore Rohit De, 16, of Attleboro, was one of only seven students in the country to earn a perfect score on the 2022 Level Three National Spanish Exam. This is the third time De, who has been studying Spanish since kindergarten, has taken the exam and his second perfect score.

That score made him eligible for the 2023 Kevin Cessna-Buscemi Global Citizen Scholarship. De is one of only nine students in the country to receive this scholarship, which covers tuition for a week-long immersion program at the Concordia Language Village at El Lago del Bosque in Minnesota. In addition to the score, his application also included a personal essay and a video of a conversation in Spanish with his teacher.

“I wanted to get more practice speaking Spanish in a real world scenario,” De said. He also expressed excitement for the opportunity to learn more about Hispanic culture outside a classroom setting.

All three students were encouraged to apply by Esther Marion, a World Languages teacher at Feehan, who also assisted with their applications.

“These three students are each open to the personal change an immersion experience offers. I hope they will return with a more complex understanding of culture as shared and the world as a community in which each person is worthy of the same rights and dignity, as well as a strengthened dedication to living the values of mercy and compassion,” Marion said.

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