Monday, August 27, 2007

Student uses language skills to volunteer, vacationSpanish 104 student Mary Ann Buchan spent her summer "stretching" her skills by volunteering every Wednesday at the Free Summer Lunch program in Hilliard.

Mary Ann Buchan with three of the students (kindergarten through 9th grade) she worked with in the Hilliard Summer Lunch program.

"I befriended several families from Mexico who came with their children to the program, and I was able to speak Spanish with them each week," said Buchan.  "They were all so friendly and gracious and appreciative to have someone speak Spanish with them." 

Buchan then found out about an English class for Spanish-speaking people taught   at a local church in Hilliard through Tolles Technical Center. She found that several of the people she worked with on Wednesdays would be attending. 

Through the program Buchan also helped one young mother enroll her kindergarten-aged son in a Hilliard school.  "She and I have struck up a friendship," said Buchan. "I am going to continue to meet with her on a social level, along with advocating for her at her son's school.  She speaks no English and she has been a confidence booster for me as far as my speaking Spanish with her."

Buchan also traveled to Peru this month for 12 days with her family, visiting Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu.  She was the only person in her family who spoke Spanish and used her skills every day in the country. "Several Peruvians complimented me on my Spanish which again encouraged me to speak even more!" she said.  "I even had a long conversation with a local policeman who rode in our van with us one afternoon.  We talked about politics, government and Peru's beauty--all in Spanish!  We returned to the U.S. one week before the earthquake in Peru, and I wish I could return to visit more."

Buchan poses with a group of Peruvian children near Cuzco.

"I am very thankful for the teaching of Dan Chaney and Gilberto Serrano who have been my instructors at Columbus State," said Buchan.    "I am working on getting my master's in Middle School Education at Ohio State, but I have been taking many of my pre-requisite courses at Columbus State.   After traveling to Honduras and the Dominican Republic on medical mission trips the past few years, I decided I wanted to become fluent in Spanish.   There is a growing Hispanic population in Columbus, and I want to be able to speak the language of possible future students and their families."

Although Buchan's class schedule for fall quarter doesn't allow time for Spanish 105, she plans to keep her Spanish from getting rusty by speaking the language with her oldest son, who also spent two months in Honduras over the summer on a mission trip.

Graduate name readers needed for September 7 ceremonyThe Summer Quarter Commencement Ceremony will be held Friday September 7 at Veterans Memorial, beginning at 10 a.m. Approximately 300 students will earn degrees and hear the commencement address delivered by Dr. Paul Otte, President Emeritus of Franklin University.  

A faculty "reader" is needed to announce the names of students in the Arts & Sciences section of graduates.   If you are a faculty member in the Arts & Sciences, and would be interested in reading names of students earning their Associate of Arts or Associate of Science, please contact Suzanne May at