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TEC Student of the Month Award

June 2013 - Mary Watkins

With a keen interest in language and a dry sense of humor, Mary approaches learning Spanish with creativity and determination. An early childhood educator who helps kids with special needs, Mary’s dedication to her work is the principal force that motivates her to become fluent in Spanish. Inquisitive and thorough, she investigates the nature of Spanish structure, asking pertinent questions that bring clarity to the topic at hand. In writing assignments, her focus and commitment shine through as she imaginatively employs the communicative tools she’s learned thus far. We congratulate Mary for the progress she’s made and for her goal of using her Spanish abilities to make school a more welcoming place for her young students and their families.

May 2013 - Mike & Bonnie Vawter

Since deciding to study Spanish together, this married couple has become a mainstay in their Spanish classes at Tierra. Committed students who clearly enjoy learning, Mike and Bonnie add creativity, intelligence, and good-natured fun to the classroom dynamic. With travel plans in the making, they are motivated to develop their language skills in part by the desire to explore new places and be able to interact on a deep level with the people they encounter. Diligent and thorough, Mike and Bonnie are truly laudable students whose genuine interest and dedication have led them to make great progress in their time at Tierra.

April 2013 - Mark Griffin

Driven in his quest towards fluency in Spanish, Mark’s dedication and inspiring community work make him a true asset to the Tierra community. An attorney who focuses his practice on protecting workers and consumers from fraud, discrimination, and illegal employment practices, he has positively impacted the lives of many in the region in his tireless fight for justice. He takes advantage of his language skills to communicate with his Spanish-speaking clients, as well as with his multi-cultural family. Endowed with a great sense of humor and fascinated by the diverse cultures of Latin America, Mark’s warmth and curiosity enrich Spanish class  for everyone.

March 2013 - Mindy Gramberg

Enamored with the language and Latin American culture, Mindy surrounds herself with Spanish in every way she can - when she’s not planning her next  trip abroad she can be found paging through Spanish-language magazines or enjoying the beats of Latin music. Her travels have included several stints in Spanish immersion programs in which she had the opportunity to work on learning Spanish while exploring Central America and soaking up the cultural experience. A dedicated research nurse who conducts oncology studies, she’s also offered her nursing skills on volunteer trips to Guatemala, providing needed medical services in rural communities. We’re happy to recognize Mindy for her commitment to studying Spanish and determination to broaden her cultural awareness and make a positive impact.

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.


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