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Advanced placement Spanish literature class publishes poetry book

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Students in Grandview High School's advanced placement Spanish literature 2007-08 class had their poetry published in a book. Pictured reading their poems to the Grandview School Board this past Monday are (L-R) Rosario Ayala and Maria Orozco.

GRANDVIEW - An advanced placement Spanish literature class was implemented at Grandview High School during the 2007-08 school year and the resulting poetry book was presented this past Monday evening to the school board.

Spanish teacher Jeremiah Campbell received school board approval for the class prior to the 2007-08 school year, citing students who are already fluent in Spanish needed a class that challenged them.

Monday night, he reported the class was a success. Of the just more than 30 students, 29 of them submitted poetry and became published authors in a book Campbell had produced.

He said the idea came from a training seminar he attended. One of the featured speakers advised teachers publish the works of their students to provide further motivation in the classroom.

Campbell's students raised funds for the publication, which is a hardbound copy of the poetry they submitted and paid $17 per copy.

When asked by school board members if there were any additional copies of the book for purchase, Campbell stated there wasn't a budget for additional copies. He said, provided enough interest, there may be a possibility the 2008-09 edition can be purchased by more than just his students.

Campbell said he also has hopes of adding the works of advanced placement English students to the book.

Two of Campbell's students spoke to the school board expressing the fact that the advanced placement Spanish class was much more difficult than they believed it would be.

Maria Orozco said she was challenged in the class, and, "I had to think about poetry and literature." She said it was difficult to write her own poems.

Both she and Rosario Ayala are fluent in Spanish, however the challenge was provided due to proper poetry and dialogue involved in both poetry and literature.

Ayala said she credits Campbell for working diligently with his students and credits her success in the class to his dedication.

Campbell said of the seven students statewide who passed the advanced placement Spanish language and literature tests, Orozco and Ayala are two. He noted all seven students were from Grandview High School.

Because the students passed the tests, they will be afforded college credit and students who scored a five on the test will obtain the highest credits.

"At the University of Washington, they are given 18 credits for scoring a five," said Campbell.

He jokingly said the 2007-08 students were the "guinea pigs" for the course.

Many of the schools which provide students with an advanced placement Spanish class offer a Spanish language course instead of a literature class. When asked by teachers from other school districts why he chose the literature class, Campbell said he responds stating, "The student can take both the advanced placement language and literature test."

For that reason, he feels the students at Grandview High School have been provided opportunities beyond those provided in other schools.

The students weren't the only ones who learned during the course, according to Campbell. He said as a language teacher, he was provided with a number of learning opportunities also.

He said he was challenged, learning beside his students, discovering the art of Spanish poetry with them.

As a result of the class, Campbell told the school board he is hoping to obtain the Bob Costas grant for the teaching of writing, which will amount to $3,000. He said if the grant is awarded, he has hopes of utilizing the funds for future publications.

The grant is awarded by the College Board on behalf of the National Commission on Writing.

Campbell said teachers from grades 6 through 12 compete for the grant. And the College Board recognizes those whom they believe exhibit innovative methods to develop writing skills.

He said a total of 15 students have committed to his class for the 2008-09 school year and each of them is determined to pass both the advanced placement Spanish language and literature tests.

It is Campbell's hope the grant will be awarded to him so he can further inspire those students and help them become published authors.

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