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TEC Student of the Month Award

Student of the Month

We at Tierra are continually inspired by our students' hard work and dedication to learn, and so to share their successes with you, we recognize one outstanding student each month with a "Student of the Month" award. With such diverse interests, projects, and reasons for studying Spanish, our students are the lifeblood of the school, transforming our center into a true community.

December 2022 - Archer Morgan

Full of enthusiasm for learning Spanish and authentic curiosity about Spanish speaking cultures as well as the deeper implications of learning a foreign language, Archer brings great energy to any Spanish class he takes. A dedicated student who has enrolled in a class at Tierra each term since beginning his studies in Spring 2021, he’s taken great strides, leaping from a low intermediate level up to advanced courses. With a great sense of humor and natural abundance of empathy, he’s a sensitive classmate who helps make the classroom a fun and comfortable environment for everyone. We are honored to count Archer as part of our wonderful student community and look forward to continuing to watch him mine the depths for nuance as he polishes his impressive Spanish skills!


October 2022 - Sherry Potwora

An extraordinarily dedicated student, Sherry has attained an advanced level of Spanish after having started at the Beginner 1 level at Tierra in 2018. She is a nurse by profession who is preparing to retire soon, and it was the plan she and her husband made to retire in Costa Rica that ignited her passion for learning Spanish. Unafraid of challenges, Sherry probes the nuances of Spanish structures and meaning and is intent on deepening her cultural understanding. Delighted to be able to use her burgeoning Spanish skills to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients, she has also made many trips to Costa Rica in preparation for her move and reports being evermore able to engage with the locals, to understand and be understood. Full of positive energy and sincere care for others, she easily builds rapport with her classmates and helps create a dynamic learning environment. We are honored to count Sherry among our student community at Tierra are thrilled to have helped her achieve her goal of building solid Spanish skills ahead of her move abroad.

July 2022 - Tony Douglas

Since beginning his studies with Tierra at the start of 2021, Tony has surprised us with his dedication to his studies, enrolling simultaneously in two once-weekly Spanish classes each term. Fully committed to his classes, he’s always present, arrives early, puts thought and effort into his homework assignments, and eagerly participates in class. With a jovial sense of humor and admirably positive attitude, Tony’s warmth and kindness contribute to building great rapport among his classmates. A lover of travel, one of his main motivations to learn Spanish is to get the fullest out of experiences abroad and he has enjoyed putting his skills to use in Spain, Guatemala, and Mexico since starting his studies at Tierra. We are delighted to have Tony as part of our student community at Tierra and look forward to continue to see him surpass his goals and achieve fluency in Spanish.


May 2022 - John Preston

After beginning his studies at Tierra in the summer intersession of 2020, John has enrolled in a Spanish course in every term since. Impressively dedicated to his studies, he is committed to practicing his Spanish skills daily by reading and listening to Spanish-language content. He deeply engages with the course material and never shies away from a challenge, demonstrating particular interest in the most nuanced usages of the language, the most demanding reading assignments. Exuding warmth and empathy, John’s jovial nature renders him a highly esteemed classmate whose presence is enjoyed by all. We are grateful to count John among our student community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to see him dive deep into the learning process, setting an inspiring example of what retirement can look like!

March 2022 - Faith Donnally

Since beginning to take classes at Tierra a year and a half ago, Faith has shown us her through-the-roof level of motivation with a perfect attendance record, creative and thoughtful responses to homework assignments, and always active participation in class. She has an analytical eye, frequently raising questions that help the class discover the subtleties of the Spanish structures they are studying. In her work at an ophthalmology clinic, she has the opportunity to greet Spanish-speaking patients in their native language and is eager to continue expanding her skills to be able to communicate with these patients on all matters. First motivated to learn Spanish by a desire to interact with locals while traveling, she is about to travel to Mexico, her first trip since becoming a Spanish student, and is excitedly preparing to use the skills she’s picked up. We are honored to count Faith among our Tierra community and look forward to continuing to see her work towards and achieve her dreams of fluency.


February 2022 - Mary O’Hearn

Endlessly enthusiastic about her Spanish studies, Mary has made great progress over the past 2+ years that she’s been taking twice-weekly classes with Tierra. A retired physician, she is engaged in community work with the Spanish-speaking community and has a deep interest in expanding her cultural, as well as linguistic, knowledge. A lover of travel and nature, she recently went on an immersion trip to Spain where she chose to stay in small villages in the mountains, soaking up the Spanish classes and abundant opportunities to practice her language skills as well as spectacular landscapes. Mary exudes joy and generosity in her interactions with her classmates and approaches challenges in the language learning process with open-minded wonder. We are honored to have Mary as part of our amazing student community and look forward to continuing to see her leap past her goals.

December 2021 - Amanda Matlin

An extremely dedicated student, Amanda began her studies at Tierra back in 2017 in the Beginner 2 level, and over the years has built up her Spanish skills to reach an advanced level of fluidity. Initially motivated to expand her Spanish skills by volunteer work she did building houses in El Salvador, her passion for providing all with safe shelter motivated her to find work at a local non-profit providing vital services to houseless people in Portland. She applies her blossoming Spanish skills when interacting with Spanish-speakers in her work and volunteer projects and is a wonderful example of someone who’s chosen to dedicate her talents to improving the lives of others. In Spanish class she’s a kind and encouraging classmate who always participates actively in class and makes her Spanish studies an important priority in her life. We are honored to count Amanda as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to witness her impressive progress in Spanish and inspiring work in our wider community.


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