Students explore their passion for language at BSM

Learning a new language is a difficult task, but when complete, it’s also one of the most rewarding accomplishments. Several students at BSM have completed said task. These students include both immersion students who have been studying their respective languages since they were five and students who grew up speaking foreign languages.


Ashley Ortizcazarin

Juniors Macy Rooney and Teagan Wolf are both fluent language speakers, Rooney in French and Wolf in Spanish; through BSM, these students have now completed the curriculum in their respective languages.

Senior Carter Paine completed all of the French classes at BSM. Paine was originally born in Ohio and shortly thereafter moved to Belgium where he learned French as his first language. He moved back “and decided to pursue French when I came to the U.S. in elementary school,” Paine said.

He wanted to continue his use of the language, so he kept with the language until this year, when he ran out of classes to take. Paine continued his studies of foreign languages through BSM’s Chinese program. “I feel that Chinese is going to be the future dominant language, so I wanted to take the first opportunity I had to learn it,” Paine said.

Junior Teagan Wolf is currently taking the last level of Spanish classes available to her at BSM, and she has achieved such high fluency in the language due to her Spanish immersion elementary school in St. Louis Park. “It was all Spanish all the time, which really improved my speaking skills and expanded my vocabulary,” Wolf said.

AP Spanish Literature was the class that I felt like I really blossomed.

— Teagan Wolf

During Wolf’s first year here at BSM she started in the course titled Hispanohablantes, which is the class for Native speakers, or immersion students, that studies grammar and writing skills specifically. Coming from an immersion school, Wolf didn’t find her language classes challenging. She found most of her studies at BSM to be a review of what she had previously learned. “I was basically already fluent when I came here. All I had to do was take the classes,” Wolf said.

By the end of this year she will have completed Hispanohablantes, Spanish 4, AP Spanish Literature, and AP Spanish Language. She has loved learning the language and found the most meaning while using her language to learn about Hispanic culture. “AP Spanish Literature was the class that I felt like I really blossomed. We were reading stories and learning about culture, which is the part I love most about learning languages,” Wolf said. She is planning on continuing her studies next year and hopefully earning a Spanish major in college.

Macy Rooney also went to an immersion school. Last year, she finished AP French, the last level of the language available at BSM. While both Wolf and Paine consider themselves fluent, Rooney has a different idea of the concept. “The way American high schools teach languages is mostly through writing [assignments], so learning to speak it is hard. You could be fluent by Level 4, but there are some AP kids who still aren’t fluent, so it depends on the student,” Rooney said.

Rooney does, however, feel that she reaps the rewards of being proficient in a language. “It is nice being able to speak a language because I can go to several countries and speak the native language,” Rooney said.

Rooney had a wonderful time in her French classes at BSM. “The French program was pretty small, but it was really fun,” Rooney said. She hopes to have a similar experience in her Spanish studies, and that her proficiency in French will help in her Spanish classes. “I like Spanish a lot because the language is very similar to French, so it is pretty easy,” Rooney said.

For those who are already fluent in a language, BSM offers few opportunities to expand their knowledge and develop their skills beyond that point. When you are just reviewing past lessons in a class, a better choice may be to move on to another language. Thankfully, BSM’s language department is rigorous and does offer an opportunity to complete learning a language and become proficient.