The new Spanish Club emerged from experienced Spanish-speaking RAHS students who wanted more opportunities to practice speaking and listening to the language during lunch.
The origins of the class emerged from a conversation between junior Katie Taylor and Jacob Savishinsky.
“Last year when I was in Journalism, I found out Sav also spoke Spanish at a conversational level,” said Taylor, “so we spoke after school when I was working on homework.”
In fact, Savishinsky suggested to Taylor about the possibility of a Club to just talk and hang out in Spanish.
“He recommended that we have some sort of lunch group and bring friends,” said Taylor, “and we could talk about things in Spanish, listen to music, and do fun things like that.”
The Club started with a small group of interested Spanish students. Those students started meeting on Fridays at lunch as an unofficial club.
“It’s not an official club because it’s during lunch on Fridays,” said Taylor. “I put a list of people I could email about it that I knew were interested.”
One of the main participants in the Club, RAHS senior Leonard Jerome, sees the Spanish Club as an important part of language development.
“The main goal of Spanish Club on Fridays is to have an opportunity to practice Spanish in general conversations,” said Jerome, “and not just listening in the classroom.”
In this way, the Friday meetings at lunch provide an extension to the learning in class.
“In the Spanish classroom, we get a lot of immersion in Spanish,” said Jerome, “but we don’t often get to just talk in Spanish with each other.”
One of the major ways the Club enhances Spanish learning is through a relaxed, fun atmosphere.
“The goal [of the Friday Spanish Club] is to have a long amount of time where we can just have normal conversations together in an all Spanish speaking environment,” said Jerome.
With these benefits of Spanish club, students of varying Spanish levels joined as a fun activity.
“I first heard about [the club] from some of my friends who were planning it,” said Jerome, “and they said that they wanted some people to come to get the club going. I thought that was a really good idea so I came.”
In addition to the fun aspects of the club, Taylor believes the Spanish Club also provides further preparation to struggling students.
“Maybe they are struggling a little bit in class,” said Taylor, “[Friday Spanish club] is where they can use their Spanish outside of class. It’s a setting that’s fun outside of class.”
However, Jerome and Taylor both believe that sufficient preparation in Spanish is necessary for fulfilling participation in the club.
“This isn’t like a hard rule,” said Taylor, “but a semester of Spanish [is sufficient background]. You don’t have to speak a lot if you don’t want to.”
Some of the features that make Friday Spanish Club beneficial to Spanish learners is a conversational environment and activities that are fun and interactive.
“It’s really good for just becoming more comfortable speaking and listening,” said Jerome. “One day we watched an episode of a Spanish show called the Ministry of Time. Sometimes we play a game; It’s like charades. We play it in Spanish.”
In general, Taylor and Jerome both agree that having sufficient experience is one of the most fundamental components of having a productive experience in the club.
“For people who are just [beginning], it might be a little bit hard to catch up,” said Jerome, “but [it’s better] for people who have had Spanish 2 or even gone all the way through Spanish 1, or [are] in AP Spanish.”