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TEC Student of the Month Award

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.


September 2011 - Janice Jenks

Janice Jenks

With a bright smile and contagious enthusiasm, Janice's joyful presence is a real boon to the classroom. Her positive attitude and abundant energy contribute to building a friendly and encouraging atmosphere, and are reflected in her delightful and creative approach to written homework assignments. In offering the gift of Spanish summer camp to both of her children and actively participating in the Tierra community by attending our holiday fiestas with them, Janice embodies our mission at Tierra to bring Spanish language and cultural education to the whole family!

August 2011 - Lusijah Marx

Lusijah Marx

Lusijah emanates kindness and positive energy, her presence in the classroom contributes to a special environment of enthusiasm and camaraderie. Her natural compassion and encouraging nature play a key role in making learning Spanish more of a group endeavor, a priority which shows when she helps to organize her fellow classmates to meet outside the classroom to keep practicing. A dedicated student, Lusijah's creative responses to homework assignments show careful study and imagination. Her community work in the field of mental health here in Portland and around the world is an inspiration to us all so we're very proud to count Lusijah as a Tierra student!

July 2011 - INT II on Tuesdays 5:30pm Spanish Class

For the month of July, we have decided to do something a little different in place of our Student of the Month award; we would like to specially recognize a unique group of students who have been studying together from 7 months up to nearly 2 years. We proudly name this group our "Class of the Month!" for July 2011

Lawrence's Spanish Class

Every Tuesday night at 5:30 the mission at Tierra is celebrated with the magnetic presence of what has been our longest running and most consistent class in our 2 year history. Tierra's vision of learning through human warmth and interaction is exemplified by the strong synergy that sparks between these seven individuals who have become community within our walls and graced our space with their signature banquet of food, laughter, language, grammar and humor. This July, Tierra Educational Center commemorates Craig, Jenny, Teresa, Rob, Emmanuelle, Maryam and Jocelyn as our distinguished Class of the Month and salute all their hard work and dedication, both individually and as a group. Thank you for helping to make the atmosphere at Tierra so vibrant and inviting!

June 2011 - Laura Valent

Laura Valent

A distinguished student for myriad reasons, Laura has put extraordinary effort into learning Spanish, and with patience, determination, and hard work, has achieved admirable advancement. Inspired by her work with at-risk youth, she decided to pursue a career in teaching ESL and Spanish, which catapulted her into intense study in order to achieve this goal. She emanates passion for learning and earnest interest in the deep and cultural aspects of language. This summer she will continue to expand her knowledge studying at UNAM in Mexico City. We are certain that with her unique sensitivity and authentic sense of purpose, Laura will be a positive and inspirational force in the lives of young people here in Portland and a true asset to the community.


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