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TEC Student of the Month Award

May 2021 - Kathy Casson

An adventurous spirit who’s passionate about scuba diving, dragon boat rowing, and travel among other things, Kathy’s natural optimism and patience have helped her make great achievements in her Spanish studies. Beginning with no Spanish skills four years ago, Kathy and her partner Sheila took on this challenge together and have been dedicated to honing their Spanish skills ever since. Kind and empathetic, Kathy is a fantastic classmate who listens attentively and contributes to creating a comfortable learning enviornment for all. Acting on her interest in using her Spanish skills to do service work, she participated last year in a trip to Guatemala with a group providing dental care and education. Kathy’s endless enthusiasm and curiosity are an inspiration and she is a model of how to live the retired life with purpose and never stop learning. We are honored to count Kathy as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to see her defy any limits and take on life (and Spanish) with zest.

April 2021 - Mariah Grant


A human rights scholar and activist who is passionate about migrant rights and has worked with several organizations to support and advocate for immigrants, she first came to Tierra in 2018 to hone her skills so that she could better serve the families she was working to reunite. Her acute interest in the interweaving of language and culture and unique need to strengthen her skills for her admirable work render her an insightful student, always seeking to deepen her understanding. In 2019 she relocated to the east coast and we were delighted to see her back for classes when the pandemic catapulted us online in spring 2020. Since then she’s remained steadfast in her studies, bringing focused dedication, genuine curiosity, and a compassionate spirit to the virtual classroom. We are honored to count Mariah as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to hearing about the amazing places and inspiring work that she takes on next.

 

February 2021 - Patti Mansbach


Always with a smile on her face, Patti’s unending supply of enthusiasm and wry sense of humor render her a welcome addition to any class. Having started at Tierra in a Beginner 1 course, she’s shown incredible dedication to her studies and tenacity as she worked her way up through Tierra’s course levels (she’s now in Intermediate 6). Initially motivated to study Spanish in order to engage Spanish speakers in her work as a case manager, her genuine interest to expand her language skills and cultural knowledge led her to take solo trips to Argentina and Mexico. Patti possesses the humility that allows one to learn without fear of making mistakes, which invites others to also be willing to take risks and try new things in Spanish class. She is a fantastic collaborator with her classmates, contributing to creating a truly welcoming space where all are valued. We are delighted to have Patti as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to enjoy her company as she reaches for ever-higher goals.

November 2020 - Judith Wilding


Love of language is something that simply flows in Judith’s veins. A writer, a talented poet, a teacher of writing, in the past she studied Russian out of love for literature and language. Currently, she is an English as a Second Language teacher for middle schoolers, tirelessly working to help young immigrant students master the English language. Motivated by a desire to communicate with the Spanish-speaking families of her students, she’s been wholly dedicated to her Spanish classes at Tierra for the past three years.  Her enormous desire to immerse herself in the language and deepen her cultural knowledge is palpable in every class she takes and it led her to enjoy a summer studying Spanish in Oaxaca, Mexico. We are so grateful for the amazing work Judith, and all teachers, are doing during times of Covid to keep their students engaged and learning and feel honored to be the bridge that helps her connect to families in Spanish. We look forward to continuing to watch Judith reach new heights in her learning and use her skills in the most noble of ways.

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