Student pairs work together |

Student pairs work together

Karen Hutchinson has been using her Spanish IV and V classes at Truckee-Tahoe High School to make a difference in the lives of some younger Spanish speakers.

For the past 13 years, Hutchinson has paired her students with a Spanish-speaking or bilingual Truckee elementary student to help them learn certain skills and improve their English.

“We try to provide a service to these kids,” said Hutchinson. “(My students) are finally starting to get proficient (in Spanish), so this is a way for them to help the community.”

Hutchinson has the pairs of students do different projects together throughout the semester.

The latest project had the high schoolers teaching the younger children how to research things on the Internet.

Each child chose an animal to research and with the help of the Spanish students, began finding information on their choice.

“(We’re researching) cats, domestic cats,” said Saira Catchot, a TTHS senior who is working with Janet Sanchez, a Truckee Elementary first grader.

“That’s her favorite animal, and mine too,” said Catchot.

The pairs meet every Tuesday and a strong bond between the two students tends to develop as the semester progresses.

“It’s neat how close the two get,” said Hutchinson. “You’ll see, like with Saira and Janet, she always comes in ready for a hug.”

Linda Bezinover, the first graders’ teacher at Truckee Elementary, thinks the program is great for all the students involved.

“It’s an authentic way for (my students) to use and practice their English,” said Bezinover. “And it gives them the opportunity to bond with older English speakers … they are good role models.”

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