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TEC Student of the Month Award

September 2015 - Shawn Barkdull


Through impressive devotion to her twice-weekly Spanish classes, Shawn has made astounding progress in under a year. Inspired to learn the language by her love of travel, crossing Spain from north to south fired up her passion to study Spanish and she's since enjoyed practicing her burgeoning skills on a trip to Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca. With a quick wit and kind heart, Shawn is a gem of student, helping to stimulate real, intelligent conversation in Spanish and create a supportive atmosphere where it's safe to make mistakes. We look forward to seeing Shawn continue to zoom toward fluency and explore all the foreign lands she can dream of.

August 2015 - Mary Ellen Hamilton

With joyful determination, Mary Ellen has transformed herself into a Spanish speaker in just under two years! Having started out in our Beginner 1 course, her incredible drive has fueled her swift progress which is an inspiration to classmates and instructors alike. Her passion for learning is contagious, as is her kindness, generosity, and infinite patience, attributes which help to create a welcoming and supportive atmosphere in any class she joins. Since beginning her studies, she’s had the opportunity to travel to Spain and Mexico and to volunteer in Nicaragua, milking her experiences abroad to the fullest in her pursuit of authentic connection and deep cultural understanding. We are grateful for Mary Ellen’s continued dedication to her Spanish learning journey and look forward to continuing to watch her achieve her lofty goals.

July 2015 - Yu-Jen Tai

Brimming with enthusiasm, Yu-Jen is the picture of a dedicated student whose extraordinary effort pays off with great progress. Originally from Taiwan, she is a true polyglot: along with her native language of Mandarin Chinese, Yu-Jen speaks Cantonese, Taiwanese, English, and now, Spanish! A genuine love of languages has fueled this impressive language acquisition and her organized, methodical nature has paved the road to her success. With a warm smile and great sense of humor, she is a kind and supportive classmate who sets a cheerful mood in any class she’s in. We’re certain that with her stellar study skills and desire to communicate with native speakers, Yu-Jen will achieve great heights in her Spanish learning pursuits and we are delighted to have her as part of our community. Click here for a profile on this exemplary student.

June 2015 - Bethany Moreland

Bright-eyed and filled with enthusiasm, Bethany approaches learning the Spanish language with focus and delight. Having started out at Tierra in Beginner 1, she’s shown incredible dedication to pursuing her fluency goals. Inquisitive and thorough, Bethany always ensures she understands the material being taught and asks opportune questions which help the whole class digest the concepts studied.  In her work at a school for deaf children, she’s taken advantage of her new language skills to engage and get to know Spanish-speaking parents. Making swift progress, she demonstrates that having a great attitude and serious motivation are the true keys to success! We wish Bethany, as well as all local educators and youth, a very Happy Summer Break! Click here for a profile on this exemplary student.

May 2015 - Kurt Peterson

A diligent and motivated student who takes Spanish class seriously, Kurt has achieved impressive progress in his time studying at Tierra. His love of travel was the initial force that prompted him to improve his Spanish skills and he’s been found engaging the locals in conversation across Mexico and Spain. With his dry sense of humor, Kurt brings smiles and chuckles to the classroom while his highly analytical nature leads him to ask the questions on everyone’s mind. In his quest to push the limits of his own knowledge, he unearths fine grammar points and new perspectives on literary readings, making the classes he takes richer for all involved. We’re glad to count Kurt as part of our community at Tierra!

April 2015 - Deb Federici

Deb Federici
With a serious work ethic, generous heart, and playful sense of humor, Deb has made a big impression on Tierra instructors and on her classmates. She’s built her Spanish skills from square one with exceptional dedication, coupling her excellent attendance in class with several hours of weekly study at home. Kind and supportive, Deb seems to relish the community-building aspect of group classes and contributes to creating a safe place for learning and speaking imperfectly. She cheerfully takes advantage of every opportunity to practice, of late chatting up her co-workers at the produce market she manages and excitedly planning her upcoming trip to Costa Rica. We’re inspired by the way Deb makes everyone around her feel special and works hard to achieve her goals - we wish her happy travels! Click here for a profile on this explemplary student.


March 2015 - Shivani Seastone

The consummate student, Shivani’s incredible determination to learn Spanish has led her to make dramatic progress in under a year, starting at Beginner 1. Eager to advance quickly, Shivani has often opted to enroll in two simultaneous 10-week courses at Tierra - a feat she accomplishes with inspiring dedication. One of the most meticulous students we’ve met, she appreciates the fine details of grammar and organizes new structures studied into charts, demonstrating her notable perseverance. Shivani is a kind-hearted, generous person whose classmates are grateful for her presence and her penchant for sharing her other love (of baking) with them! We’re excited to continue to watch Shivani blossom and achieve her sky-high goals in Spanish fluency. Click here for a profile on this explemplary student.

February 2015 - Mia Palkie

Exuding enthusiasm for learning Spanish, Mia’s infinitely positive attitude has paved her path towards proficiency with progress and many laughs. So strong is her motivation to learn and practice speaking Spanish, when she did not find a good place to practice in Eugene (where she lives) she created a Spanish Conversation group through the social website and co-organizes two weekly gatherings. Her eagerness to communicate in Spanish combined with her inquisitive nature make her an ideal classmate: she asks the questions everyone has on their mind and keeps the mood lively. Having made great strides in her time studying at Tierra, Mia is on the brink of turning her dreams of travel into reality! We congratulate Mia for her initiative and commitment and look forward to hearing about her future exploits!


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