Gaining working fluency in Spanish at Gerstell Academy has literally paid off for senior Hunter Linton. Hunter is one of twelve students in the United States who have won a $2,000 prize for his fluency as evidenced by an essay and a conversation in Spanish.
Only one senior member from each chapter of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica (The National Spanish Honor Society) in the United States may apply for a college scholarship. Twelve $2,000 awards and forty $1,000 grants are available each year. This year Hunter has earned one of just two awards for $2,000 offered in the mid-Atlantic and northeast region.
Hunter submitted a two-page persuasive essay in Spanish based on the following prompt: “As a 21st century citizen, explain in what way you might use what you have learned in your Spanish classes to be a better global citizen and to contribute to your community.” He also submitted five-minute video in Spanish, which is spontaneous, and conversational in tone (without a script) in which he discussed with his teacher his motivation for continuing to study Spanish.
After completing Spanish III in ninth grade at Gerstell, Hunter became a member of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica (The National Spanish Honor Society). As a junior, he served as Vice-President and this year leads Gerstell’s chapter as its President. Hunter has taken six Spanish classes in Upper School, including two electives both junior and senior years.
Hunter’s work through Gerstell’s Intern/Mentor program: Spanish in the Community, Part 1, as a junior and Part 2 senior year, distinguishes him as a strong leader who takes action with passion, conviction, and persistence. He set two goals in August 2019: to explore how to better relations between local businesses and the Spanish-speaking population in our community and to encourage more businesses to offer bilingual services. His community mentor for the past 18 months has been bilingual attorney Laura Morton in Westminster. In Mrs. Morton’s office, he has used his Spanish to greet clients (90% are Spanish speaking), translate birth certificates and court documents, and serve as translator for non-Spanish-speaking lawyers. Last fall, Hunter gathered a group of students to assist Spanish-speaking residents to complete the 2020 census.
Most recently, he has dedicated himself to nurture and mentor members of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica to become involved with community service projects to assist Spanish-speaking residents of Carroll County, including English language learners in the Carroll County Public School system. Hunter’s reach has extended to the Office of International Services for which he and his team have translated many school notices into Spanish. Gerstell joined forces with Falcon Outreach during the holiday season and wrote 42 letters in Spanish to individuals connected to St John’s Church in Westminster. One of his newest initiatives is to translate information about COVID-19 vaccines and how to make appointments to get them, as well as other messages about Carroll County services to its residents. Mrs. Morton will post all of this on a new Facebook page she has created in Spanish.
Hunter is interested in pursuing a career in international business and Spanish. He will apply his scholarship to his studies at the college of his choice in 2021-22.
Previous Gerstell Academy recipients of the La Sociedad Honoraria Senior Scholarship are:
Anthony Zgorski (Sam Goldstein) (2012- $2,000)
Andrew Nevin (2014- $2,000)
Hailey Fein (2015- $1,000)
Luke Gardner (2016- $1,000)
Polina Yashnyk (2017- $2,000)
Brandon Tan (2018- $2,000)
Max Friedman (2019- $2,000)
Aryana Valedon (2020- $1,000)