WNP Nicaraguan guests speak at SPASH
By Taylor J. Hale
Special to the Gazettte
STEVENS POINT — Wisconsin-Nicaragua Partners of the Americas (WNP) brought several exceptional female guests to Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) to speak with Spanish students about global relations and cultural values.
The gathering was conducted primarily in Spanish and gave the SPASH youth an opening to learn and connect with their foreign guests.
“The ladies spoke to almost all of our Spanish classes at SPASH, levels 1-6,” said Cari Frederiksen, SPASH Spanish teacher. “It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to make the WNP organization something real, to see these people in person, who are working very diligently in Nicaragua with the donations that we send to use in the Learning Centers to help give women in rural areas skills that they can use to help their families financially.”
The guests were Leonor Guerrero, Mirna Angulo and Lilliam Gomez, all Nicaraguan natives and affiliated with the WNP organization. Frederiksen is an avid supporter of the group and had a chance to visit the guests in their homeland prior to their SPASH assemblage.
“I had met [the visitors] on our trip to Nicaragua earlier this year, so I was thrilled to see them again and have them meet my students,” Frederiksen said.
She traveled to the country with Executive Director of WNP Amy Wiza to speak with the Nicaraguan people and develop deeper bonds with the program. Now, her students are working on their own project to give back to their international friends.
“The students were made aware of what they could do to make a difference and to help strengthen our partnership with Nicaragua,” Frederiksen explained. “Spanish 4 students will be making illustrated hardcover books, received through a grant by Amy Wiza, in Spanish for children that have themes of culture in Wisconsin, related to cheese, breweries, farming, snow, how holidays are celebrated and more.”
Frederiksen and her peers feel that raising awareness for groups like the WNP is essential. She feels it gives pupils a chance to connect with a different culture in a significant way. Offering insight to students who may have overlooked such outreach projects before.
“A student mentioned to me this morning that they have seen the sign for our sister city Estelí in Nicaragua as they come into Stevens Point for their entire lives,” Frederiksen said. “And that they had no idea what it meant, and by meeting these women and knowing about the organization, she now knows what it means and how people in her community are helping to make a difference somewhere else in the world.”
WNP is setting deep roots for itself in the Stevens Point community. It already has an active body of dedicated members and is now inspiring young students to take part in their noble efforts. Frederiksen sees the project as a massive stride for the young learners.
“This is global awareness and we, in the World Language department, are not only teaching languages, but we are also trying to prepare students to be global citizens,” she said eloquently.