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Ss. Peter and Paul High School Spanish honor society students learn ‘a whole new culture that is so bright, exciting, and happy’

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Spanish honor society students at Ss. Peter and Paul in Easton, Md.

EASTON — With colorful decorations and the festive music of Hispanic cultures, Ss. Peter and Paul High School celebrated the inauguration of its Spanish Honor Society on Thursday, Dec. 2, in the new facility’s Wilson Auditorium.

Spanish teacher Sharon Spence welcomed the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica’s first 13 inductees at the 5:30 p.m. ceremony on a stage decorated by students with flags, flowers, balloons and a multicolored Mexican papel picado banner. About 50 parents, teachers and members of the community attended the ceremony.

Conducting most of the induction ceremony in Spanish, “Senora Spence” said the students “have shown and proven a strong interest in the beautiful Spanish language and culture.”

Spence, who has taught Spanish at the high school for nearly 20 years, presented certificates and gifts to each student, who then lit and carried a candle and corporately pledged their support for the society. During the ceremony, the students prayed the Our Father in Spanish.

Inductees are Alexandra Ekroos, Julianna Fletcher, Ania Haynes, William Hamilton, Maydelyn Hernandez, Hannah Hulseman, Sarah Kyle, Janel Loaiza-Paucar, Samuel Lovell, Avari Morgan, Joshua Sambrano, Elisabeth Snapp and Josephine Trevino.

The clock tower at the new Ss. Peter and Paul High School in Easton, Md.
Dialog photo/Joseph P. Owens

The program featured their photos, the Spanish courses they’ve taken, their hobbies and their answers to the question “Why Spanish?”

Loaiza-Paucar answered, “Taking Spanish … would allow me to flourish in a society that is starting to become Spanish dependent and would allow me to connect with my Peruvian heritage.”

Haynes said learning Spanish is “very important … (by) taking Spanish, I have learned about a whole new culture that is so bright, exciting, and happy.”

Hamilton said studying Spanish “possesses several practical applications career-wise and will prove to be quite useful while traveling abroad.”

The guest speaker was Dario Velasquez, a leader in the parish. “Today, we congratulate these 13 students,” he said in Spanish. “We recognize and applaud (their) effort and dedication … Surely there will be new opportunities, goals and challenges. Anything is possible with confidence in God and oneself.” The program contained his remarks in both Spanish and English.

In 2016, Ss. Peter and Paul Parish joined the Guatemala Solidarity Partnership and sent its first delegation to its sister parish, Los Santos Reyes in El Turnbadour. A member of the delegation, Spence returned from a trip to the sister parish a few days before the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a covered dish dinner of traditional foods and beverages of Hispanic cultures, prepared by parents and members of the parish.

Established in 1953, The Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica is an honor society for high school students enrolled in Spanish and/or Portuguese, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).