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TEC Student of the Month Award

February 2018 - Patrick Heath


An incredibly dedicated student with a deep interest in literature and culture, Patrick has truly made the most of Tierra’s literary and cultural immersion course offerings. His thoughtful reflections and contributions in class demonstrate a gift for analysis and nuanced understanding of the messages embedded in the novels, short stories, and films studied. His enthusiasm for literature, travel, and even grammar is infectious, as are his jovial sense of humor and naturally strong rapport with classmates. Usually arriving for class on his bicycle despite a notably busy professional life and whatever the weather, his commitment to his Spanish studies is impressive. We are so grateful to have Patrick as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to enjoy his company!

January 2018 - Tandra Schmidt

Tandra Schmidt

 

Naturally vivacious and seriously passionate about her Spanish studies, Tandra brings immense enthusiasm to any class she joins. A nurse practitioner who enjoys using her budding Spanish skills to get to know her Spanish-speaking patients, she is excited to expand her medical Spanish skills in Tierra’s Healthcare course this Winter Term. Also motivated by her love of travel, Tandra’s positive attitude and tenaciousness in her quest to achieve fluidity in Spanish are an inspiration. We look forward to continuing to hear her laugh and watch her Spanish skills bloom!

 

December 2017 - Marcia Darm

With an enthusiastic and even-keeled attitude, Marcia is tenacious in her study of the Spanish language, never afraid to explore new, complex structures. An avid traveller who has a special love for Africa and has enjoyed trips around the Americas, her desire to understand different cultural realities and have authentic exchanges with locals is one factor that stimulates her dedication to learning Spanish. Naturally vivacious and friendly, she helps build the camaraderie that creates a uniquely welcoming learning environment at Tierra. It’s been wonderful to watch Marcia make significant progress in her time at Tierra so far, and we look forward to continuing to see her sharpen her skills and test them out near and far!

October 2017 - Noah Greenwald

With a great zest for learning and genuine interest in Latin American culture, Noah’s enthusiasm is contagious to all around him. An ecologist who is passionate about protecting endangered species, his desire to connect with the people he meets on trips to study the diverse species of Central and South America is central to his motivation to study Spanish. Having started at Tierra with private lessons together with his teenage son, Noah has progressed through our Beginner series and is now embarking on his intermediate studies with impressive dedication. It is a joy to observe Noah engage with the language so thoughtfully and we look forward to continuing to see him surpass his goals.
 

September 2017 - Pete Brainard


Inquisitive in nature, Pete’s endless thirst for knowledge leads him to weave his quest for cultural understanding with his Spanish studies. A global citizen without a doubt, he and his partner have spent the better part of a decade living between southern France and southern Spain. During his stints back in Portland and since their return a few years ago, he’s been impressively dedicated to his Spanish classes at Tierra. His contributions in class frequently bring nuances of meaning to light and stimulate discussion, enriching the experience for all. A motivated student who enjoys the challenge of reading fiction in Spanish, his generosity and kind heart endears him to classmates. We are proud to count Pete as a valued member of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to see him achieve his fluency goals!

July 2017 - Paula Oldfather

A committed student with an infectiously positive attitude, Paula brings her joy for learning to every class she attends. She began studying Spanish at Tierra in a Beginner 1 course nearly four years ago after retiring as a pediatric nurse. Since then, she’s been dedicated to her studies, a tenacious fighter up to the challenge of any obstacle put in her path. Motivated by her love of travel, Paula’s put her Spanish skills to use making connections with locals on trips to Mexico, Chile, and Spain. Currently enrolled in two intensive courses (which translates to 4 class sessions per week), her devotion to building her Spanish abilities is inspiring. Kind and generous, she is highly regarded by all her classmates and helps create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. We are grateful to have Paula as part of our community and look forward to seeing her achieve her goals!

June 2017 - Ken Houseman

Deeply committed to his Spanish studies, Ken has made his classes at Tierra a top priority, often enrolling in two courses simultaneously. Perhaps his background in computer science and business inform his focused and methodological approach, one which is lightened with an infectious sense of humor and an invariably positive attitude. Inspired to learn Spanish in part to honor his partner’s family of Mexican heritage, Ken is also passionate about travel and has visited many Spanish-speaking countries, most recently, Cuba. He revels in the social aspect of small-group classes, building strong connections with his classmates and helping to create a truly supportive and dynamic atmosphere. We are delighted to count Ken as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to see him race toward his fluency goals!

 

May 2017 - Carynne Drake

Carynne Drake
With bubbly, joyful energy and endless enthusiasm for learning Spanish, Carynne lights up the room and contributes to creating a positive class dynamic in any group she’s in. Notably dedicated to her studies, Carynne has been taking classes at Tierra for nearly three years and has improved her Spanish skills by leaps and bounds in that time. Reporting that Spanish class is her “me time” amid a busy life caring for her three young children, she places great value in the community aspect of group classes and builds mutually supportive relationships with her classmates. Highly inquisitive and eager to widen her cultural knowledge, her reflections and questions often help bring group discussions deeper into the subject at hand and enrich the interaction for all. We’re grateful to have Carynne as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to seeing her continue to blossom as a Spanish-speaker!

 

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