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Best of the Week 2020-2021: Holy Cross Values


St. Ed's Spanish classes have been translating letters from the students at COAR Children's Village in Zaragoza, El Salvador for over 10 years. As part of their service, St. Ed's Spanish teachers were presented with the St. Romero Solidarity Award for their invaluable service to the COAR children in El Salvador. St. Ed's has helped in translating more than 14,000 letters from COAR children to their sponsors all around the world. Language Acquisition Department Chair Lisa Hardin's IB Juniors have been studying educational systems in Central America for the past 6 weeks and took the time this week to translate letters from COAR, serving as the culmination of this unit.

"By translating the letters, our students forge a vital link between the children at COAR, who are orphans, and their sponsors," says Mrs. Hardin. "They help strengthen the relationship between the sponsor and the child by translating the letters to English so the sponsors can read them. Sponsors who maintain a connection with their 'kids' are more likely to continue sponsoring them for longer, ultimately until they graduate from high school and are in a position to start living on their own. It was pure coincidence that the batch of letters we received this week were from teenagers around the same age as our students. This allowed our Edsmen to connect even more to the messages they translated which talked about daily life in El Salvador and the children's reactions to the global pandemic."

From a language perspective, students also saw firsthand how grammar structures work in authentic contexts. Translating these letters helps students find the most natural way to translate conversational Spanish to properly convey each letter's message as intended. "I want my students to really master the Spanish language. It is a great feeling to talk to someone in their native language," says Mrs. Hardin. "I want them to understand and appreciate the culture and how it teaches them to be open-minded. My hope is that by translating the letters, students get a little closer to both linguistic and cultural competence."

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