Tag Archives: spanish

Spanish Students Head To Conferencia

Since November, a select number of students taking Spanish have been practicing for Conferencia, a state-wide competition where students perform a two minute impromptu speech, 10 students act in a play, and six students recite poetry…all in Spanish. With a maximum of 16 students competing, Oak Hall is hosting this year’s competition in Orlando. The competition, which starts on Thursday, March 8, goes into the weekend.

In addition to the aforementioned categories, schools can compete in auxiliary events. These events aren’t factored into the overall score, but do have first, second, and third place standings. Oak Hall students have prepared two songs, one dance, one poster, one physical scrapbook, one digital scrapbook, and a t-shirt design to show off their school, and Spanish, spirit.

    Seniors Sadia Rafa and Sophia Santelices perform the song they are singing in the competition

    Over the past five years, Oak Hall’s Spanish program has won first place twice (2019 and 2020), and third place (2022). The competition in 2021 was cancelled due to COVID. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be able to compete at such a high level against schools larger than Oak Hall. For one final practice, the students hosted a performance at the Upper School Learning Commons on Monday, complete with costumes and perfection. Spanish Teacher Krystal Serrano has complete faith in her students and believes they will do well in the competition. “They’ve worked hard and I’m proud of them,” she said.

    Good luck Eagles!!!

    Saying Farewell to Libby Karow

    By Jenna Poppell

    After more than 20 years of working at Oak Hall School, Upper School Spanish teacher Libby Karow is moving on to the next chapter of her life, leaving an enormous hole behind. Karow has had a tremendous impact at OHS, whether it was teaching at all three divisions, leading the Upper School Honor Council, or establishing a partnership with a sister school in Uruguay. In addition, she created a highly successful International Festival run by Oak Hall’s International Club, which allowed Upper School students to get involved and celebrate cultures all around the world. Known affectionately as “Señora” by her students, Karow will be greatly missed for her supportive and caring nature. Oak Hall senior Elle Storoe has known Karow since she began kindergarten at OHS. “[Karow] has been like a second mother to me [and] has always been there if I ever needed anything. She has been an awesome teacher and an awesome friend. Just knowing that there is an adult that I can go to for help has been awesome throughout high school,” she said. 

    Visibly moved by the surprise party thrown by Oak Hall students,
    Karow’s legacy will not be forgotten

    On Dec. 11, students threw a surprise farewell party with the help of Upper School Spanish teacher Krystal Serrano. Students had the opportunity to write Karow a personal note, thanking her and wishing her luck in the future. Oak Hall senior Caroline Jurecko concurs with Storoe’s sentiments. “Señora Karow is so caring, she helped me with so much and I could always count on her to be there for me. I don’t know what I would have done without her,” she stated. Not only did she allow her students cook in class and liven up their day with interactive games, but she was an advocate for every student at the school. Students gravitated to her because they knew she would listen. “Most people teach because they love working with kids but seldom hear from them until years later when a few come back to see you or drop you a line.  To have so many students, past and present, make the effort to celebrate my retirement means the world to me,” Karow said. “I thought I was emotionally ready to move on to my next great adventure, but the past two weeks have reminded me why I took such great joy in teaching. I will miss my students every day.”

    Thank you Senora Karow for giving so much to this community and giving all of us a safe place to be ourselves. 

    US Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

    By Avery Broom

    Oak Hall’s Upper School is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 until Oct. 15, by honoring and celebrating Hispanic Americans. Sept. 15 represents the start of the celebration because it’s the anniversary of independence from Spain for the Central American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. It ends on Oct. 15 because President Lyndon Johnson wanted an entire month to celebrate Latin American Culture. Alexa Katz, President of Spanish Club, says Oak Hall Spanish Club is planning an event to celebrate both Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Hispanic Heritage Month. She also noted any student can come to the celebration, not just students taking Spanish class. The Spanish Club celebration will be held on Nov. 2 in both Señora Serrano and Señora Karow’s room at 3:30. Students can also see the decorated hallway Spanish Club put together to bring awareness to this month which includes posters on the walls depicting flags, papel picado, and many important Hispanic figures. Krystal Serrano, Upper School Spanish Teacher and Department Chair of the Language Department, says her classes are learning about Hispanic Heritage month through games such as Sudoku and Kahoot. For more information about events with the Spanish Club, check out its Instagram @oakhall.spanishclub.

    US Students Participate in Exchange Program

    By Cate Cannon

    12 of Oak Hall’s Spanish-studying students are traveling to Uruguay in March for their Spring Break as exchange students with Oak Hall’s sister school, the Colegio Paulo Friere. 

    Last year, the Uruguayan students visited Oak Hall for two weeks. The kids went to class with their host students to observe American school life. Because the Uruguayan students lived with Oak Hall students for those two weeks, shadowed the Eagles throughout the day, and went on field trips together, the two groups formed close friendships. 

    When the Oak Hall students travel to Uruguay, they will be visiting Colonia de Sacramento, Montevideo, and Punta del Este. On this trip, the Upper School students hope to learn more about Uruguayan life. Upper School Spanish Teacher, Libby Karow, spearheads the trip. “The owner of Colegio Paulo Friere has a house near the beach in Punta del Este where we will spend two days,” she said. 

    Sophomore Jasmine Ferris is staying with the family whose daughter she hosted last year. She is extremely excited to go to Uruguay. “I’ve heard so much about Montevideo and the country as a whole, I’m excited to actually go,” she exclaimed. Interestingly, she only talks in English with her Uruguayan partner. “My host knows English fluently and speaks it very well, and I only know a little Spanish,” Ferris explained.

    Sophomore Justina Chen was paired with her partner last year as well. Like Ferris, Chen and her partner typically speak in English, as they are both fluent. “I think just being in Uruguay will be an incredible experience,” said Chen. “I love how many connections and experiences speaking Spanish gives you, the community and meeting new friends is great,” she continued.

    The students are mostly looking forward to being immersed in the Uruguayan culture and reuniting with their foreign exchange friends.

    Spanish Project Aims to Help Environment

    By Cate Cannon

    Oak Hall’s Spanish-III Honors class, taught by Upper School Spanish teacher Krystal Serrano, is working on a project that aims to better the environment, both at school and in general.

    The purpose of the project is to find an economically efficient plan with various benefits to improve the environment. Students were assigned partners, with whom they are having to liaise often as the project requires out-of-school work. The goal is that Oak Hall students will gain a better understanding of the environment and the economic impacts of caring for it.

    Sophomores Jennifer Berthy and Rebecca Lillie are presenting a project on paper towels vs. hand dryers. “It would be beneficial to use Airblade V dryers instead of paper towels,” claims Berthy. The two believe that the project would be economically beneficial. “Paper towels are pretty expensive to buy, and these hand dryers could last you a long time,” she continues.

    Senior Natalie Saliwanchik thinks the project is a great idea. “Whether our ideas actually get implemented or not, it gets people talking about how we can improve Oak Hall’s environment”, she says. “I think that if certain groups plan out their ideas well enough, and if they would benefit Oak Hall, then the administrators would consider implementing some of our ideas,” she continues.

    Most of the class has expressed excitement at the opportunity to work on this project. Being given the chance to learn about the environment and plan ways to make an impact is an inspiring assignment for young adults. The students are grateful to Spanish teacher Krystal Serrano for the chance to work on a project that increases their environmental knowledge and understanding of the topic. “The group that wins the class vote will have the opportunity to present their project to the administration,” Serrano said.