High level Spanish speakers participate in internship


Courtesy of Mary Murray

Interns––Frankie Lynch, Elizabeth Valley, William Valley, Quinn Van Oort, Jimena McMerty-Brummer, Pedro Ochoa, David Estrada-Andrade––assisted in Spanish classrooms throughout the area.

Maggie Murnan, Staff Writer

The Spanish Language Internship Program, also known as SLIP, has welcomed its biggest class ever this school year. SLIP is on its seventh year of running and prides itself on being the first internship program at BSM. Students part of SLIP have the opportunity to leave school for 7th and 8th hour, two days a week, to go assist in Spanish classrooms at different schools in the area. 

This year, ten seniors and one junior are participating in the internship program, led by Spanish teacher Ms. Mary Murray. The students are all fluent in Spanish or have near fluent capabilities. Each student is assigned to one of five locations: North Port Elementary, Park Spanish Immersion, Good Shepherd, ISLA, and the Little Knight room. “This year I added three schools because our program grew so much,” Murray said.  

It opens you up to a lot of different possibilities. You learn the importance of speaking a second language.

— Kelly Dempsey

The interns are working with kids from toddler ages all the way up to 5th grade. Each of the students have different roles at their schools. Most of the students, such as Elizabeth Valley and Kelly Dempsey, are teacher assistants. They work one-on-one with students or assist the teacher in any way needed. “I help the teacher with whatever she needs help with. I help her set up art projects or talk to the kids make sure they’re staying on task,” Valley said. 

Other students, such as Pedro Ochoa, work directly with students whose first language is Spanish. “I’m in charge of a girl named Yosslyn; she’s around ten years old. She’s been in America for 18 months. She doesn’t know English at all, so right now I’m teaching her a little English and how to say words,” Ochoa said. 

The students this year are already learning a lot from this program and gaining valuable skills such as responsibility and teaching methods.“It opens you up to a lot of different possibilities. You learn the importance of speaking a second language,” Dempsey said. 

Throughout the seven years, the BSM students have made a big impact on the children and different school communities. “The kids that are at the site absolutely love it because they have a role model,” Murray said. 

The program can also be a meaningful way for the BSM students to end their high school language experience. Many of the students in the program are interning at the Spanish immersion schools that they attended as grade schoolers. They are now standing in the front of the classrooms they once sat in as students. Additionally, after spending the majority of their lives learning Spanish in a classroom or their homes, they are able to use the language in an outside setting to help others. “It tends to be the pinnacle of their language classes because they are using language authentically,” Murray said.