South Orangetown Central School District

La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica Capítulo Tito Puente, Tappan Zee High School’s Spanish Honor Society, proudly inducted 38 new members this week. Co-advisors Odette Santiago and Kristy Walsh created this slideshow to celebrate the inductees.

“Nelson Mandela said, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart,” says Santiago. “On a human level, learning another language is a portal to other cultures. When you are able to connect to people in another language, you have an opportunity to understand a different culture and empathize with those of a different background than your own. When there is mutual understanding, prejudices are less likely to arise, and I feel great pride in students that are choosing to follow this path of understanding, empathy and opportunity.”

To be eligible for induction, students must be currently enrolled in a Spanish language course, have taken at least two years of high school Spanish with a minimum average of 90 or above in all Spanish courses at the high school and possess a minimum cumulative grade point average of 85. To maintain membership, students are required to tutor, perform community service, participate in meetings and events and maintain the minimum Spanish and overall coursework averages. The requirements for tutoring, participation in events and community service were suspended this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Learning a language opens your mind to think in different ways and have various perspectives. Just as our world shouldn’t be viewed through one lens, it shouldn’t be viewed through one language,” Walsh argues. “Now, more than ever, the world demands global citizens who are culturally and linguistically fluent. Candidates who are bilingual and/or multilingual are more likely to be hired for jobs. Language fluency will definitely give a candidate a leg up in the hiring process.”

Tappan Zee High School is home to a vibrant and collaborative Spanish language program. All teachers have experienced Hispanic language and culture firsthand by living in various Spanish-speaking countries and bring those experiences into their classrooms. They work closely as a team, exchanging ideas and supporting each other in their professional growth as educators. To learn more about Spanish courses available at Tappan Zee High School, view the World Language section of the 2020-21 Curriculum Guide.