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West Virginia Students Travel to Spain While Never Leaving the Mountain State

June 27, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Hola! Students at the first ever West Virginia Spanish Immersion Camp will be communicating only in Spanish from June 27 to July 3 at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, W.Va. The camp is being supported by the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE). 

A minimum of two students from each of West Virginia’s 55 counties are diving deep into authentic, hands-on studies.  While at the Spanish Camp, campers will be completely immersed in the language, food, music, art, history, geography and customs of the Spanish-speaking world.  No student will possess a cell phone or other electronic device during the week.  By only communicating in Spanish, students are challenged to fully realize and develop appreciation of the responsibilities associated with being a globally-minded citizen. 

The camp model is inspired by the nationally-known Concordia Languages Villages, which has the mission statement, “language without limits: creating a world where everyone understands.” 

Upon arrival, students will assume a new camp identity and receive a “passport” with their new Spanish name.  Students will then go through simulated customs experience before being assigned into groups.

On June 29, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple will visit Cedar Lakes, observing the day’s activities then interacting with the students – but only in Spanish.  Following lunch, she will address the campers at 1:30 p.m.

Upon returning to school in the fall, student campers will be designated as Youth Ambassadors in their own schools.  The Youth Ambassadors will serve as role models, demonstrating the importance of possessing a positive disposition towards other languages and cultures as well as appreciating them.  Each Youth Ambassador will be tasked with carrying out a small leadership project during the 2012-2013 school year that will help their peers develop and reinforce their own understanding of language and culture.  One project idea is to hold language conversation tables during lunch, only speaking the target language during the time.  Another idea is to work through a school’s language teacher to establish an e-mail partnership with an international school.   

The West Virginia Spanish Immersion Camp was created after the successes of other statewide camps including the 2010 and 2011 Chinese Language Leaper STARTALK Camps and the 2011 West Virginia Youth Science Camp.

For more information contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communications Office at 304-558-2699 or 304-807-6988. 

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