Grant to finance Spanish courses | News, Sports, Jobs

NORTHROP — Martin Luther High School in Northrop has received a grant to fund Spanish lessons for 7th and 8th graders of area Lutheran students. Classes will be taught by Señora Veronica Balderas.

Baldaras worked as a Spanish teacher at the school for five years. Originally from Mexico, Baldaras came to the area 12 years ago and before teaching, she and her husband, Juan, worked as veterinarians on a farm. This is her first teaching position and she is looking forward to adding a few more classes in the next school year.

“Marge (Thiesse) applied for the scholarship and she got it”, Baldaras said, referring to the school’s director of development and recruitment.

The project is funded by the “To all generations” MN Southern District grant from the Synod of the Lutheran Church of Missouri. The money will help pay for Baldaras’ salary, travel expenses and school supplies.

The objective of the class is to bring about a better understanding of diversity and of God’s universal love for all people.

Baldaras said it was something she had wanted to do for a while, as she recognized that teaching someone something – especially a language – at a young age would help them learn it and hold her.

“I have seen more interest in children of this age to learn. I am thrilled to teach these notes,” said Baldaras.

She will teach Spanish Enrichment, an introductory course because she assumes most students haven’t yet learned much of the language, to students at St. Paul’s Lutheran-Fairmont and St. Paul’s Lutheran-Truman.

She will visit schools one day a week to teach the class and between schools 26 students will be impacted. As this is a one-year grant, Baldars said the future of the program is unknown, although they hope to continue it after a successful first year.

At Martin Luther, students must complete two years of Spanish and one Spanish course is offered as an elective. Baldaras is excited to reach students at an earlier age and said she doesn’t think some people understand how important it is to learn or know another language.

“Right now, after living at the Fairmont for 10 years, I’ve seen how much the Hispanic population has grown. It’s incredible. We need people who can speak Spanish,” said Baldaras.

She said that when she started teaching she had a student who wondered why he needed to learn the language and said he would never use Spanish.

“She called me a few years ago and said, ‘Señora, guess what? In college, my roommates are from Puerto Rico and they all speak Spanish. She said she was learning even more Spanish. Spanish and that she was happy. said Baldaras.

As a teacher, Baldars said it was wonderful to hear. She also asked students to tell other stories about how their Spanish came in handy when communicating with people in the community. She hopes more students and families will understand the importance of knowing another language.

“It can open more doors” said Baldaras.

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