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Modern Language Fair brings students to experience Spanish, French culture

Sigma Delta Pi and the Language and Literature department invited area high school students to the Morgan University Center to explore Spanish, and French culture.

This is the third year of The Modern Language Fair, and the first year where they invited French learners to participate in the event.

The students were from four high schools in the Clarksville-Montgomery County school district.

“Each year we select a different Spanish-speaking culture for the students to research,” Spanish instructor Laura Schultz, coordinator of the fair, said. “This year we chose Spain for the students to learn about.”

The Spanish and French students were separated into separate rooms in the UC.

The students participated in a series of six events that focused on elements of Spanish and French culture. At the end of the day, the top three students of each category were recognized for their achievement.

“The first thing we have the students do his take a competitive placement test that is half grammar, and half culture based questions,” Schultz said. “Since we have language learners from beginners to advanced placement students we have different tests to reflect the difference in skill level.”

After the placement tests the students were judged on cultural items such as dance, music, literature, art and cuisine. The students were judged by student volunteers and language faculty based on a specific rubric.

One piece of art, “Las Piezas de Oro,” was created by two North West students junior Taylor Rae Dirks, and sophomore Alesia Bell. The painting was inspired by the works of Pablo Picasso.

“We chose to base our painting on Picasso because you do not feel one emotion when viewing one of his paintings as it is a journey of emotions,” Bell said.

The students who chose to cook a cultural dish had to explain how they cooked it, and why it is significant in the culture.

For the literature portion, students had to read a piece completely in Spanish, and were judged on how well they pronounced the language.

“This is a good event to bring students to because they get create something, and a student who is normally quite can use their gifts to stand out,” Spanish high school teacher Mary Beth Warren said. “They get a chance to experience the language outside of just studying grammar in the classroom.

After all the presentations the students were invited to listen to what Sigma Delta Pi has to offer, take a brief tour of the campus and to take part in the cultural food that the students made. During this time the judges tallied up the scores so the winners could be elected.

“We are happy we were able to add French to this year’s fair, but we also want to add a German segment for next year,” Schultz said.

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