AACC Hosts World Languages Competition for Area High Schools


Philip Van Slooten

Professor Scott Cooper, World Languages Dept Chair, displays a French poster.

Philip Van Slooten, Daily Reporter

On Friday students from local high schools gathered in CADE for World Languages Day and discussed different languages and cultures.

According to Jodie Hogan, the program coordinator for world languages, this year’s theme was “Engage and Explore.”

Teams demonstrated their knowledge of a language, culture, and geography for prizes. They also learned about opportunities for more advanced study at AACC.

“There were ribbons for first, second and third place competitors,” the professor explained. “And trophies for [winning] schools.”

Scott Cooper, world languages professor and chair, stated students who compete are always excited and have fun.

“It’s fun for them to show off their language skill and creative ability,” he said.

Hogan added non-academic competition included awards for posters, team t-shirts and creative photos engaging the theme and their chosen language.

“One year a team photoshopped themselves into an image of the running of the bulls,” she recalled, smiling.

During the awards ceremony, Hogan discussed AACC’s language courses which are beyond what most high schools offer.

“For example, many students are surprised we offer Korean,” Hogan added.

“We talk to students about the opportunity for language study beyond AP [Advanced Placement] classes,” Hogan said. “We have quite a few high school students who come here for conversation courses. We predominantly push them towards upper levels so there is no conflict with lower level high school courses.”

“This was our biggest year with eight out of the twelve high schools participating,” Hogan said. “We usually have six. We also had more teams competing: eight in Spanish and four in French.”

She pointed out one reason for increased participation is increased cooperation with the world languages coordinator for Anne Arundel Public Schools. She views this partnership as critical for the program’s success.

She said current AACC students could also benefit from taking world language courses.

“Studying a language gives you a view into other worlds,” Hogan explained. “The travel study program has changed the lives of the students who have experienced it.”

“And it can be a powerful quality for an employer to consider,” she added. “If you take the advanced language courses, it can set you apart from others who may have all taken the same basic courses.”

Cooper agreed, stating most careers are “enhanced with knowledge of a world language.”

Next year Hogan said she would like to see all twelve schools in the Anne Arundel county system participate. She also felt American Sign Language would be an interesting addition to the competition.

“Learning another language shows you have an open mind,” Hogan said. “I truly believe what it says on my door, ‘To have another language is to possess a second soul.’”

Philip Van Slooten
Spanish Professor Jodie Hogan’s door displays one of her favorite quotes: “To have another language is to possess a second soul.”