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TEC Student of the Month Award

June 2012 - Jacob Lewin

Jacob LewinWith his keen interest in Latino culture and refined sense of humor, Jacob brings fresh perspectives to the Spanish classroom . A retired radio reporter and news director, he continues to do freelance work in radio, often reporting on issues related to hispanics and immigrants and seeking to widen cultural awareness. His wholehearted dedication to giving back to the community can be seen in his volunteer work, tutoring Spanish-speakers with limited educational opportunities in English as a Second Language. A  frequent participant in the ''intercambios'' offered at Multnomah County libraries, Jacob commendably explores every avenue available to practice his language skills and make connections with the Spanish-speaking community.

May 2012 - Danielle McGurrin

Danielle McGurrin
Vivacious and friendly, Danielle's positive energy contributes to creating a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere in any class she joins. She is commendably determined to learn Spanish despite the demands of her academic career and is committed to her studies, often taking a private class when she's been forced to miss class. Having relished the opportunity to communicate with native speakers and explore the city-scapes and volcano-dotted countryside of Guatemala, her adventurous spirit and genuine desire to learn about Latin American culture fuel her dreams of further travels south. Always actively engaged in the class material and quick to ask questions, Danielle embodies the enthusiasm and drive that we at Tierra love to see.

April 2012 - Ryan Hildreth

RyanBrimming with enthusiasm, Ryan - or "Marcos" as he is known to his classmates - began at the Beginner 1 level at Tierra and has been dedicated to learning Spanish ever since. Armed with a pen and a stockpile of index cards, he seems to rejoice at the discovery of new favorite words and phrases. He recently upped the ante by enrolling in a second weekly course, and his determination to advance is evident in his eagerness to practice Spanish with native speakers and fellow students alike. With his ever-present smile and characteristic sense of humor, Ryan has a knack for inspiring laughter and making learning Spanish a more entertaining and memorable experience.

March 2012 - Craig Norman

Craig Norman Picture
Craig is driven to learn Spanish, and his steady and impressive improvement demonstrates that a commitment to study and practice truly yields results. In his two years studying at Tierra he has advanced through the levels; his analytical nature and organized approach boost his ability to process new information and expand his language skills. Joyful and kind, Craig brightens up the classroom and clearly enjoys the camaraderie built in group classes. His dedication to deepening his knowledge and genuine interest in Latin American culture are emblematic of what makes Tierra students so special.


February 2012 - Ben Rhiger

Ben Rhiger
Ben is learning Spanish because he loves to learn new things, and it shows. His inquisitive and analytical nature prompts him to actively question new information, looking for patterns in language and seeking to solidify his understanding. An avid explorer of the wilderness, he brings his love of nature to his Spanish studies, sharing and writing about his adventures, and discovering new words to delight classmates with a wonderfully rich vocabulary.  Ben always pushes the limits of his knowledge, using written homework assignments as opportunities for creative self-expression and humor, as well as for deepening language skills. His commitment, curiosity, and spark make learning more fun for everyone.


January 2012 - Lindy Delf

Lindy Delf

Lindy's wholehearted dedication to learning Spanish is evident in her unceasing commitment to classes at Tierra. Her open and friendly presence has helped to create a comfortable and enjoyable dynamic among all those who have been her classmates. She exudes genuine interest in the Spanish language, and in the cultures of those who speak it, and is always willing to ask questions in order to ensure her own understanding. A retired elementary school teacher, Lindy is passionate about education and social justice: she's been putting her Spanish skills to admirable use by tutoring several Spanish-speaking children in Spanish reading and writing skills.

November 2011 - Corrie Burdett

Corrie Burdett

With an unshakably positive attitude, Corrie approaches her Spanish studies with authentic interest, enthusiasm, and patience. Unafraid to delve into the depths of language and fascinated by the cultural aspects behind linguistic differences, her goal of being able to communicate with people is always apparent. Having already experienced traveling and studying abroad, she is currently preparing for an extended stay in Nicaragua next spring where she'll be working with several community organizations. Corrie represents the spirit of service central to Tierra's mission, a desire to use her abilities and time to have a positive impact on people in need.


October 2011 - Connie Whelan

Connie Whelan photo

Connie possesses a unique thirst for learning, a quality reflected in her fascinating life path as well as in her dedication to mastering the Spanish language. Trained as a classical musician, she played the viola with the Oregon Symphony for over 25 years before deciding to dedicate her time to her new-found passion for underwater photography. An avid world-traveler, her adventurous spirit, natural curiosity, and openness to challenges abound in her approach to learning Spanish. Whether supporting our holiday celebrations at Tierra or using her Spanish in the Yucatan peninsula, Connie places authentic communication and community-building at the center of all her pursuits.



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