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TEC Student of the Month Award

June 2015 - Bethany Moreland

Bright-eyed and filled with enthusiasm, Bethany approaches learning the Spanish language with focus and delight. Having started out at Tierra in Beginner 1, she’s shown incredible dedication to pursuing her fluency goals. Inquisitive and thorough, Bethany always ensures she understands the material being taught and asks opportune questions which help the whole class digest the concepts studied.  In her work at a school for deaf children, she’s taken advantage of her new language skills to engage and get to know Spanish-speaking parents. Making swift progress, she demonstrates that having a great attitude and serious motivation are the true keys to success! We wish Bethany, as well as all local educators and youth, a very Happy Summer Break! Click here for a profile on this exemplary student.

May 2015 - Kurt Peterson

A diligent and motivated student who takes Spanish class seriously, Kurt has achieved impressive progress in his time studying at Tierra. His love of travel was the initial force that prompted him to improve his Spanish skills and he’s been found engaging the locals in conversation across Mexico and Spain. With his dry sense of humor, Kurt brings smiles and chuckles to the classroom while his highly analytical nature leads him to ask the questions on everyone’s mind. In his quest to push the limits of his own knowledge, he unearths fine grammar points and new perspectives on literary readings, making the classes he takes richer for all involved. We’re glad to count Kurt as part of our community at Tierra!

April 2015 - Deb Federici

Deb Federici
With a serious work ethic, generous heart, and playful sense of humor, Deb has made a big impression on Tierra instructors and on her classmates. She’s built her Spanish skills from square one with exceptional dedication, coupling her excellent attendance in class with several hours of weekly study at home. Kind and supportive, Deb seems to relish the community-building aspect of group classes and contributes to creating a safe place for learning and speaking imperfectly. She cheerfully takes advantage of every opportunity to practice, of late chatting up her co-workers at the produce market she manages and excitedly planning her upcoming trip to Costa Rica. We’re inspired by the way Deb makes everyone around her feel special and works hard to achieve her goals - we wish her happy travels! Click here for a profile on this explemplary student.


March 2015 - Shivani Seastone

The consummate student, Shivani’s incredible determination to learn Spanish has led her to make dramatic progress in under a year, starting at Beginner 1. Eager to advance quickly, Shivani has often opted to enroll in two simultaneous 10-week courses at Tierra - a feat she accomplishes with inspiring dedication. One of the most meticulous students we’ve met, she appreciates the fine details of grammar and organizes new structures studied into charts, demonstrating her notable perseverance. Shivani is a kind-hearted, generous person whose classmates are grateful for her presence and her penchant for sharing her other love (of baking) with them! We’re excited to continue to watch Shivani blossom and achieve her sky-high goals in Spanish fluency. Click here for a profile on this explemplary student.

February 2015 - Mia Palkie

Exuding enthusiasm for learning Spanish, Mia’s infinitely positive attitude has paved her path towards proficiency with progress and many laughs. So strong is her motivation to learn and practice speaking Spanish, when she did not find a good place to practice in Eugene (where she lives) she created a Spanish Conversation group through the social website and co-organizes two weekly gatherings. Her eagerness to communicate in Spanish combined with her inquisitive nature make her an ideal classmate: she asks the questions everyone has on their mind and keeps the mood lively. Having made great strides in her time studying at Tierra, Mia is on the brink of turning her dreams of travel into reality! We congratulate Mia for her initiative and commitment and look forward to hearing about her future exploits!

January 2015 - Gretchen Janssen

A kind and spirited woman, full of curiosity, while Gretchen is a student at Tierra, she has much to teach us. Initially drawn to learn Spanish by her passion for tango dancing, she pursued her studies (of the language and the dance) in many trips to Argentina where she developed a nuanced understanding of both topics. Upon moving to Portland, she quickly became a part of Tierra and made every effort to continue sharpening her skills, complementing group classes with individual private lessons and frequently gracing us with her presence at our holiday fiestas. Her remarkable generosity and insatiable thirst for learning are truly inspiring; one would be hard-pressed to find a more engaged and concerned citizen. We are honored to count Gretchen as part of our community and wish her and all of our students a healthy, happy new year.

December 2014 - Rose Bonomo

With immense enthusiasm for learning Spanish, Rose makes an incredible effort both in and outside of class to apply new knowledge and milk the educational experience to the fullest. She is eager to practice and takes advantage of every opportunity to interact with native-speakers, particularly in her work as an event space manager and on the town in the local salsa-dancing scene. Determined and studious, Rose often interprets the homework assigned as a springboard, stretching her vocabulary base and writing skills in animated compositions. Through her natural vivaciousness and fabulous sense of humor, she often stimulates group discussion and helps to build a comfortable and encouraging classroom atmosphere. With travel plans on the horizon and no sign of slowing down, we look forward to watching Rose surpass her goals while enjoying her company.

November 2014 - Rayner Ward

Rayner is a unique, you might even say unforgettable, student  whose humor and spontaneity bring an element of surprise to the Spanish classroom. After a long career of many careers including English professor, carpenter, and owner of a remodeling company, Rayner retired in 2007 to dedicate himself to his writing. He’s since self-published two novels and reports that his Spanish studies helped tremendously in the writing and editing process, particularly as he summoned his memories of Mexico and peppered the scenes set there with Spanish phrases and slang. Fascinated by language in all of its literary and vernacular manifestations, Rayner pushes the limits of his Spanish abilities, always seeking to express his thoughts on complex topics in an idiomatic fashion. We wish Rayner the best in his endeavors and are glad for his spirited participation in our community at Tierra!


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