Students Help Hurricane Victims During Language Week

Hola, Bonjour, Hello - those are just some of the languages recognized during the annual Language Week at Chaminade Julienne. What made this year’s celebration extra special was a fiesta held on January 11 with proceeds benefiting Colegio San Jose in Puerto Rico.

“We were trying to think of something cultural, meanwhile, I have been working with the LIFE, MLC group,” Spanish teacher Libby Harbaugh explained. “The LIFE group met a lot of friends from Puerto Rico at LIFE week this summer and they wanted to do something for Puerto Rico. I thought maybe there was a way we could merge the two ideas."

During the fiesta, science teacher Jessica Anderson, who had previously studied abroad in college, taught salsa dancing lessons and Fr. Bob Jones, SM, who had spent three years in Italy, shared with students what it was like to be in a foreign country and not know the language right away.

Katie Bardine ‘19, who is in Spanish III, participated in the salsa dancing lesson at the beginning of the fiesta.

“I didn’t realize how hard salsa dancing would be - it was hard!,” Bardine laughed.

In addition to the salsa dancing lesson and reflection from Fr. Bob, there were also a salsa taste testing and chopsticks competitions. Students who entered a salsa into the competition paid a $3 entry fee, while students who wanted to participate in the taste testing paid a $2 entry fee. All money collected benefited Colegio San Jose in Puerto Rico, who were severely impacted by Hurricane Maria last fall.

“I think that helps a lot because you’re not only here to learn about Spanish and the culture, but you’re also learning about a country that speaks Spanish all the time,” Bardine said.

Members of the school’s Marianist Life Community (MLC) helped in the organization of the fiesta.

“I’m really happy because a lot of people know that there are Marianist connections around the world, but to see myself and other peers helping those who are around the world is nice,” MLC member Cecilia Meadors ‘18 said.

Organizers said they were overly pleased with the turnout for the event.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Harbaugh said. “I think because I was in high school Spanish not so long ago, I recognize the motivation that is hard to find when you’re conjugating verbs and going over grammar in another language. So my experience, and my love for languages, came from my first trip abroad when I was with people who spoke the language and I wanted to speak the language badly, so I could know them better and not feel like I was the closed minded or like the small-worlded one in the group. I think my biggest goal in class every day is to get the students to connect with the language more than what’s on the paper. It helps them see that really people did this, real people do this and I could too.”

To round out Language Week, students in the American Sign Language class will share a morning prayer and students in foreign language classes will distribute churros and thank you cards to CJ faculty and staff.

Posted January 12, 2018