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TEC Student of the Month Award

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.


April-May 2011 - Katherine Gottfried

Katherine Gottfried



As a compassionate and committed nurse, Katherine was motivated to begin studying Spanish by her desire to build bridges and communicate with Spanish-speaking patients. Endowed with great tenacity and abundant enthusiasm, she has shown true passion and determination in her dedication to learning. She exudes excitement about the Spanish language and Latin American culture, often arriving with humorous anecdotes or glee at having dreamt in Spanish. Kind and generous, Katherine possesses the kind of community-based orientation that we at Tierra applaud and hope to nurture.




March 2011 - Lyle Brown

Lyle Brown




A fortuitous combination of serious drive and natural ability have allowed Lyle to learn to speak Spanish at a break-neck pace. Thanks to his logical approach and meticulous study habits, he often offers insight into perplexing grammar rules and his contributions help all the students in his class to understand. Keenly interested in communication and dialogue, Lyle exhausts the possibilities for "intercambios", taking every opportunity to practice Spanish and build relationships here in Portland as well as abroad in Mexico. Lyle manages to balance hard work with good fun and milk his Spanish studies to the fullest.




February 2011 - Becky Wandell

Becky Wandell




With a big smile and bubbly enthusiasm, Becky brings joy and purpose to the classroom. A truly community-oriented vision fuels her dedication to learn Spanish in both her professional life, as a public school teacher who goes beyond expectations to form a conversation club with Spanish-speaking mothers of her students, and in her personal life as a seasoned international traveler and volunteer. An adventurous spirit, she has troves of experience and a knack for hilarious storytelling. Becky's passion and community work serve as a wonderful example of what we at Tierra hope to foster and an inspiration to find more ways to get involved.




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