Students get top Marks in Spanish Language Contest

Students get top Marks in Spanish Language Contest
It’s difficult to memorize a poem and repeat it verbatim. It’s even harder to do it in Spanish. But that’s what Freshman Isabella L. and Eighth-grader Candymarie S. did when they took home top prize in the recent Wisconsin State Spanish Pronunciation Contest. 

“Spanish teachers judge the students from different districts as to accuracy, fluency, and interpretation of their performance,” explained Spanish teacher David Linden.

Students get a first-place award if they demonstrate superior with few errors, second if they present a fine effort with some flaws to work on and third place means a good effort with several areas to work on in the future. 

The pair earned medals for their performance and a certificate for reciting author Isabel F. Compoy’s 13-line poem Juega Conmigo. To compete they had to record themselves reading the poem and then upload the finished work to an app for the judges.

Both Isabella and Candymarie spent hours at home and in their study hall time practicing the poem with Linden. When Candymarie got stuck on some of the words she’d go over and over them, she said.

“I kind of rephrased it over and over - like lyrics to a song.” 
South Milwaukee students begin taking Spanish in seventh grade, but this was the first year of Spanish language instruction for Isabella, 15, who transferred to SM from Milwaukee Public Schools this year.

“It was hard for me to memorize a poem,” Isabella said. “It was the first poem in another language for me.”

“I think that what is very challenging, is that you have to be very precise and you have to get it right,” Linden said. “You have to have a very strong accent, and you have to maintain your cool under pressure.”

Isabella has felt great since learning she earned a top score. 

“It was just very exciting to be asked by a teacher to sign up for a competition,” she said. “I got this whole praise from some of my friends. It’s big.”