Sneak Peek: Feria South Carolina Spanish Conference
by Stephanie Schenck, Spanish teacher, Clover High School, SC
Colleagues and I have been talking about it for years: Our state really needs a Spanish competition for students! Some states do a quiz bowl, some do a multi-day conference with a variety of categories, and some do a one-day foreign language festival. Here at AATSPSC, we are developing our own competition, set for Spring 2018! We are calling it Feria South Carolina Spanish Conference (affectionately known as Feria SCSC), and want to give you a sneak peek at what we have in the works.
There are several reasons to hold a conference for students. One of the main purposes is to celebrate the accomplishments of our high school students, as well as celebrate our state’s native Spanish-speaking students and heritage learners. Also, we have seen other states have great success in promoting interest in Spanish by involving their students in competitions. It is a great form of advocacy for students to report back to their friends and family how much fun they had and how successful they felt. We want our students to go back to their communities with pride in their Spanish abilities! Finally, funds from the festival will go back into AATSPSC and eventually will fund scholarships for students once we have established the program.
We are in the process of drafting official rules and guidelines. The plan is to separate students into four categories ranging from “Students who have only learned Spanish in a classroom” to “Students who were educated in a Spanish-speaking country.” In the spirit of fairness, we want to honor our students’ experiences and create a competition where everyone can shine. Our tentative plan for Spring 2018 is to hold a one-day competition with three events: Spelling Bee, Impromptu Speaking, and Timed Writing. All of these events can be practiced in advance as a part of daily classroom activities, or outside of class as part of team practice. In the future, our goal is to expand the competition to include more events and span several days.
Another aspect of this competition is to involve our state’s college students to serve as volunteers and judges. Many universities have Spanish classes with a Service Learning component, and we are hoping that this competition offers an opportunity for colleges to also get involved. Also, if some of these college students are future language educators, we want to welcome them to AATSPSC before they graduate!
As we continue to map our state’s own Spanish competition, we look to you, our colleagues and friends, for feedback! We will have the opportunity to meet and discuss AATSPSC’s programs at the upcoming SCFLTA 2017 Conference in February. Are you interested in volunteering? Do you teach college and want to involve your service learning students? Are you thinking that you definitely want your high school kids to participate? Let us know! If you aren’t planning to attend SCFLTA, we would still love your feedback! Please email us at AATSPSC@gmail.com. To everyone going to SCFLTA, we will see you soon!