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TEC Student of the Month Award

February 2013 - Gretchen Mollers

Gretchen MollersExcited about learning and eager to advance, Gretchen has thrown herself into studying Spanish wholeheartedly and her extraordinary effort has paid off as she’s made impressive progress in her time at Tierra.  A teacher who helps at-risk youth to become engaged in their education and finish high school, she is motivated to study Spanish by her commitment to serve her students and communicate more effectively with their families. “Over the years I've observed how Hispanic/Latino families can be underserved by the traditional school system, and I'm constantly trying to support them in better ways.  For me, learning Spanish is part of that process,” she relates. We at Tierra salute Gretchen and her colleagues in the education field who go beyond what’s required of them in their quest to connect with their students and guide them to success.

January 2013 - Anni Mackin

Anni Mackin
Naturally cheerful and full of curiosity, Anni (“Anita”) brings laughter and warmth to the Spanish classroom. Spending four months in Mexico as a child ignited her interest in Spanish, and since then she’s enjoyed further travels in Spain and Latin America and discovered a passion for the language and culture. Truly committed to building community (Anni lives in a housing co-op and works in a food co-op!), she actively reaches out to local Spanish-speakers and is determined to use her Spanish skills to break down the barriers that separate people. With such enthusiasm and initiative, we’re sure Anni will go far in her pursuit of fluency in Spanish and are proud of her progress at Tierra!

December 2012 - Dick Cohen

Dick Cohen
With an unfailingly positive attitude and steadfast determination, Dick - or “Ricardo” as his classmates know him by - is truly dedicated to learning Spanish. A pediatrician, he has observed how important proficiency in Spanish is for healthcare providers and has been  assiduously working to acquire the communication skills needed to treat patients. Dick’s fortunate blend of focus and a quick, yet subtle sense of humor render his contributions to classes helpful and entertaining at once. A parent who has offered his children a bilingual education, we at Tierra commend the value he places on language and intercultural understanding for himself and his family.

November 2012 - Nancy Bouwsma

Nancy Bouwsma
Nancy is an exceptional student of Spanish, unceasingly dedicated to honing her communication skills and fascinated by all things Latin American. Her warmth and compassion lead to her take every opportunity to reach out to native-speakers, eager to form meaningful relationships and learn from others’ approaches to life. In her travels she’s chosen the less trodden path, seeking authentic experiences and immersing herself completely in Spanish while building lasting friendships with locals. Perhaps most notable in her language-learning trajectory is Nancy’s voracious appetite for reading in Spanish - armed with a dictionary, pen, and highlighter, Nancy revels in the challenge of understanding written Spanish and deepening her cultural knowledge through literature. With such zest and commitment, we feel lucky to count Nancy as part of the Tierra community.

October 2012 - Jacob Carringer

Jacob Carringer


Inquisitive and upbeat, Jacob is an exceptional Spanish student who brings a welcome mix of focused attention and hearty laughs to the classroom. With a writer’s eye for language, his analytical observations and pertinent questions enrich the educational experience for all, while his thoughtful compositions reflect the effort he puts into studying Spanish. Jacob’s amiable nature and positive attitude have led him to form strong bonds with his fellow classmates; eager to use their Spanish skills and deepen their cultural understanding, he and three of his Tierra classmates are heading to Tepotzlán México this month for an intensive week of Spanish studies and cultural immersion. We at Tierra wish them all a ¡Buen Viaje!

September 2012 - Leila Everall

Leila Everall
Already fluent in Farsi and English, Leila’s dedication to mastering her third language stems from her commitment to better serve the Spanish-speaking community: as a chiropractor she has many Spanish-speaking patients whom she helps to overcome pain. She approaches studying Spanish with lighthearted determination and a healthy sense of humor, building camaraderie amongst her classmates and facing challenges with laughter. We at Tierra commend Leila and all healthcare professionals who are motivated to devote time and energy to learning a language by the desire to communicate effectively with the people they treat.


August 2012 - Stephanie Liberman

Stephanie LibermanWith a naturally cheery disposition and endless enthusiasm for learning, Stephanie makes Spanish class more enjoyable for everyone.  Dedicated to the community she serves as an elementary school teacher in Vancouver, WA, her continuing commitment to expand her communication skills and cultural knowledge is fueled by a genuine desire to engage and include her numerous Spanish-speaking students and their families. As a student at Tierra, she energetically contributes to creating a fun, supportive atmosphere and thoughtfully probes into all topics studied. Boundlessly positive and driven, Stephanie is a real boon to the Tierra community.


July 2012 - Tom Carter

Tom CarterPassionately committed to service work in Latin America, Tom’s enthusiasm for learning and sense of purpose infuses the classes he joins with positive, joyful energy. After experiencing volunteer trips with medical associations, he founded a non-profit NGO “Agua Pura Para El Pueblo”, dedicated to promoting simple, small-scale methods to help communities and families obtain safe, clean drinking water and improve sanitation. He and his wife Susan frequently travel to Mexico with the organization, where they can be found this month working on projects in Mexico City, Chiapas, and Oaxaca. Tom’s innate curiosity and natural optimism make him an exceptional student of Spanish and Latin American culture, always seeking to expand his ability to communicate with and understand the diverse communities south of our border.


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