Class of 2018
College of William & Mary
Taking Spanish was one of the best decisions I made in high school. I believe that the world language department at Kettle Run is the best in the county. They really drove me to try my best in all aspects of my school life. The teachers will do anything that they can to help you, which really allowed me to strengthen my language skills to my full potential. They were an amazing support system for me and helped me advance not only my communication skills, but also my knowledge of the art, culture, and history of Latin and Hispanic communities. Because of the experience I had with Kettle Run’s Spanish department, I have decided to continue studying Spanish in college. It is one of my passions, and I will use it to connect with others and bridge cultural boundaries. I want to be able to help others who may not speak the same native language that I do. The language department at Kettle Run definitely had the most positive impact on my high school career. I never thought I would continue past Spanish III, but because of the amazing teachers I had, I decided to continue through level VI, Spanish Literature and Culture AP.
Class of 2018
College of William & Mary
At Kettle Run, I took classes in French, Arabic, and Spanish. French, my first foreign language, will always have a special place in my heart. Through my class assignments, I was able to experience an entirely new culture. I found a passion for learning languages, which inspired me to travel abroad to France in the summer of 2016 as an exchange student. This was an amazing opportunity for which I am still very grateful. I was able to truly apply my knowledge of the French language and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. In the summer of 2016, I had another amazing opportunity: the Virginia Governor’s French Language Academy. The Academy is a selective summer program that only admits 60 students from the entire Commonwealth of Virginia. My senior year, I hosted Austrian, French, and Spanish exchange students. I also took classes in Arabic and Spanish. After graduating, I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Morocco. There, I was able to test my French and Arabic. In December of 2018, I went to visit my Spanish exchange student in Palencia. I improved my Spanish and found another home on another continent. I really do feel that I have families in France and Spain. I am so grateful for my teachers who gave me the ability to speak different languages at a high-level and enabled me to have all of these amazing opportunities. Currently, I am continuing my studies in Arabic and I have also started American Sign Language. I plan to learn new languages for the rest of my life, and the Kettle Run World Language Department deserves all the credit.
Class of 2017
University of Alabama
“While I was at Kettle Run, I learned Spanish and Arabic. I enjoyed learning both languages very much. I did well in both these classes and I believe it was because of how it was taught to me by my teachers. Amgad El-Shewihy was my Arabic teacher and Ms. Chovnick and Ms. Fermoselle were my Spanish teachers. All three made learning the respective language fun. I had the most fun in Amgad’s Arabic classes. He made it interesting to learn the language and made it simple to understand even though some of the subjects were complex. Not only did he teach us Arabic, he also taught us about the culture. Sadly, I am not continuing to learn Arabic in college. I intend to major in Spanish as well as Computer Science. In addition, my college does not offer a major nor a minor in Arabic. Both Ms. Chovnick and Ms. Fermoselle prepared me well for Spanish in college by having us only speak in Spanish and doing projects. They also taught us about the cultures of various Spanish speaking countries, which I enjoyed. One of the things that helped me improve my Spanish the most was the Spanish exchange program in which I participated. I would not have been accepted to that program without the help of Ms. Chovnick and Ms. Fermoselle. I hope that my Spanish major will help me find a job in a Spain in the information technology field.”
Class of 2017
I took Spanish because the classes were fun, and I enjoyed the language. Initially, I did not know the usefulness of knowing another language. I communicate in Spanish at my summer job constantly; some of my coworkers only know Spanish. Currently, I am studying Biological Systems Engineering and pursuing a minor in Spanish at Virginia Tech. I plan to study in the Dominican Republic during my junior year through a school-sponsored program. In order to effectively fix medical devices and implement more efficient procedures in hospitals, I have to speak Spanish fluently. When I took my first Spanish class, I didn't realize the opportunities that the language presented to me because I learned it for my own enjoyment. But now, I am glad that I have learned the language because I see life through another cultural lens. I also understand cultural struggles that originally, I ignored or did not know existed. Through Spanish, I have a broader chance to give back to the global community.
*Attended the Governor’s Spanish Academy in the summer of 2016
Class of 2017
University of Virginia
“While at Kettle Run I studied Spanish with several incredible women, culminating in Spanish 6 with Señora Fermoselle. This was the first year the course was offered, and the small class size allowed us to forge close and rewarding bonds. I still keep up with the group and look forward to studying abroad during my time in college. For me, foreign language was so much more than a checkbox towards graduation. I was afforded the tremendous opportunity to spend time abroad in Guatemala, which impacted me profoundly. Even in my day to day life here at UVA, I make an effort to converse with the other Spanish speakers on my hall. This serves as a testament to the wonderful work done by the world language department at Kettle Run. For a long time, I neither liked nor was particularly good at Spanish itself. My current proficiency is honestly owed to a few passionate faculty who took the extra time to help me learn. Hats off to the department, because my experience was by no means an anomaly. They are great!”
Class of 2016
College of William and Mary
I started learning Spanish at Auburn Middle School and continued through my senior at Kettle Run. At Kettle Run I got to make a music video in Spanish during Ms. Chovnick’s class and I sold pulseras made in Nicaragua with the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. At William and Mary, I’m part of a public health community development project, MANOS (Medical Aid Nicaragua Outreach Scholarship). As part of the group, I travel to Nicaragua once a year (my first trip is this summer!) and we work hands on with community members in Chaguite to provide roofs for their homes and we are currently working to build a community well and cistern system. I’m also an Editor for the campus paper, The Flat Hat, where I am starting a new column this semester written in Spanish by Spanish students. I wouldn’t have had the Spanish skills I needed to join MANOS without the start I had at Kettle Run. I also wouldn’t have built the relationship with the upper-level Spanish professor who I am working with to start the new column if I hadn’t received such a strong foundation at Kettle Run. I’m also applying now for study aboard programs in Barcelona for the Fall 2018 semester!
Taking a language in high school and continuing it after, whether it be in college or not, is one of the best decisions you can make, and Kettle Run’s program is fantastic!
Class of 2017
University of Virginia
When I began my time in high school, I saw the world languages classes as I would any other classes. I had no idea that these classes would present me with such a beneficial experience that will last a lifetime. I studied Spanish because I believed it would be practical for use in the United States and in travels, but I couldn’t foresee the academic opportunities it would bring me. Through hard work and dedication to my language studies, I was able to achieve success consistently in the classroom, taking up to the fifth level of Spanish. I also got the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica in high school, attend the highly selective Governor’s Foreign Language Academy, and host an exchange student from Spain. All of these were memorable, eye-opening experiences that were only possible through the world language department. I achieved a proficiency in the Spanish language that I still use with fellow Spanish speakers today, and I am constantly improving my speaking and writing in the language with the hopes of taking advantage of more opportunities in the future. If I had not embarked on my Spanish journey by simply taking the class in high school, my fate would have been completely different, and I would certainly not be at the University of Virginia.
Corey is on the right wearing Spanish Honor Society cords and National Honor Society cords.
Class of 2017
Virginia Commonwealth University
During my four years at Kettle Run, I studied Spanish and was fortunate enough to be a member of Kettle Run’s first ever AP Spanish Literature &Culture class taught by Ms. Fermoselle. Studying Spanish has opened up many doors for me and continues to provide me with a wealth of opportunities in college. Studying a world language not only helps you professionally, but it helps you grow as a person. Being a shy person, talking to strangers has not always been easy, but when you are able to communicate with someone in their native language, it makes it all worth it. Being able to talk to someone in their native language is a special gift that allows you to understand and appreciate cultures on a higher level. I experienced this first-hand during trips to Costa Rica and Mexico when I talked to people that, otherwise, would not have been able to understand me. Studying a world language allows you to immerse yourself in another culture, even if you are not in that country. The ability to watch television shows and movies or read a book in another language gives you perspectives on the world that you may have never thought about. Thanks to the amazing teachers in the KRHS World Language Department, I am now pursuing a degree in Spanish and I am looking forward to using Spanish in my future career in Political Science.
Class of 2017
"My name is Will Merriken, and I am a freshman at Roanoke College. During my time at Kettle Run, I studied Spanish, Latin, and Arabic. I had finished my language requirement after Spanish, but I wanted to continue studying languages because it provides you with a well-rounded education, and I enjoyed the classes. The smaller classes such as Arabic are especially fun because of the relationships you develop with your teacher and fellow students. Since I have been at college, I have begun studying Italian and I plan to continue studying it for the next few years. The foundations from the languages I took in high school have helped immensely in the transition to a college-level language course. My time spent in Spanish is obviously helpful for studying Italian. In addition, even some elements from Arabic have connections with Italian and Spanish. No matter what language you decide to take, it will be setting you up for success in all other languages in high school and college."
Class of 2017
George Mason University
"Throughout my years at Kettle Run, I took on the languages of Spanish and Arabic. However, Arabic is what really stuck with me. I became inclined to learn it because of my interest of acquiring certain governmental professions in the future, and because of my family background.
I really enjoyed the Arabic classes taught at Kettle Run, but mostly because of a great teacher- Amgad El Shewihy. He really was passionate about teaching, enlightening, and learned from us as well, which I found the entire language department to encompass. We learned through activities and assessments, which I found to be very beneficial. We had so much fun too; sometimes there would be “food days” where we could really experience the Arabic speaking countries through their traditional dishes.
I am now in college, where I utilize this language every day. I have my Arabic class daily, and I am now able to converse with my Arabic speaking friends. I am hopeful to use Arabic in my future profession!"
Class of 2017
University of Mary Washington
“Studying a world language has benefited me in a number of ways. It is really interesting to learn about another culture, what they tend to value, sports, entertainment, cuisine, etc. Going to a high school with little to no diversity, studying a second language is so important for understanding how life is for people outside of your own little bubble. It gives you more appreciation for those people as well as for people that are also just learning English. It gave me more interest in broadening my understanding of other languages and cultures. I studied Spanish. I choose this language because it is extremely popular and the rate of popularity is ever growing. I actually do use Spanish occasionally. At work I was able to communicate with Spanish speaking customers, I use it when I listen to music or watch TV. Having a second language, especially Spanish, is so important on a resume or just in life. The more languages and ways you have to communicate with people, the more unique you are. That can set you apart when looking for a job and it gives you a more worldly view and understanding of different ethnicities and cultures.”
Class of 2014
“I am eternally grateful for the experience I had taking French at KRHS. It was one of the few classes I took where I knew the material I was learning was something I would keep with me forever, no matter what field I go into. Aside from exposing me to news, music, and food from around the world, it allowed me to learn to think in a different way. Attending the French Governor’s academy allowed me to broaden that knowledge, teaching me how to use French in ways I thought I never would. I got to try my hand at writing songs, plays, pieces of journalism, and more, all while meeting friends who shared this keen interest and with whom I am still very close today. My current coursework in college focuses on city development and planning on a global stage, and I am so happy I have a background in French to open doors to travel opportunities worldwide. My only regret is not having studied more languages while at Kettle Run, where there is so much more individualized support throughout the process."
Class of 2011
“Originally, I saw foreign language as something I just needed to bulldoze through as quickly as possible in order to graduate. I went as far as to double up on Spanish in one year so that I could be done with it. However, by the end of my Spanish II class, I realized I genuinely loved learning Spanish and it challenged me more than any other class I took in high school. It helped me in other classes too, particularly English. By the end of Spanish III I realized I wasn’t going to stop. I had such an amazing teacher for three years (Ms. Fermoselle) that made learning Spanish very fun, which made the challenging factor more of a game. Before I knew it I could walk through the grocery store and understand little kids talking to their parents in Spanish. I went to Spain and was able to navigate because I actually spoke with people there instead of just asking if they spoke English. When I went to college I added a minor in Spanish because I missed it.
I have used Spanish to help strangers while traveling. I also use Spanish quite frequently when helping my parents’ new employees. Currently, I babysit a little girl who is bilingual. I get practice, while also helping a young, intelligent girl develop her language skills. Honestly, my life would be very different if I had not continued with my Spanish education, and these skills will only help me further my career.”
August Lutkehus Class of 2015 North Carolina State University Dear Mrs. Fermoselle, Thank you so much for influencing me to pursue higher levels of Spanish,
including the Spanish Governor’s Academy and the trip to Costa Rica.
The trip to Costa Rica was the first step that led me here, to North
Carolina State University,looking to study environmental engineering.
That visit to EARTH University defined what I want to do as a career in
my future, and I can’t wait to engage in it further. It also opened up
my eyes to a new culture that I had never experienced before. To this day,
I still wish to return to Costa Rica, and look forward to exploring the
culture more. The Spanish Governor’s Academy advanced my Spanish speaking
skills to a level I didn’t think it would reach. It brought me out of my
comfort zone,and has forever changed the way I view the language of Spanish.
Those three weeks are the most memorable weeks of my life, and I don’t know
where I would be with my Spanish without it. Thank you for believing in me,
because I did not have a lot of confidence in myself. Those experiences
bring me here today, studying to complete a minor in Spanish (only three more
classes!). I am also highly considering studying abroad either in Peru or
Spain and am anxious to see where that leads me. Thank you for the
encouragement and your teaching, I wouldn’t be the same person without it. Sincerely, August Lutkehus *This was a handwritten letter received by Ms. Fermoselle and later typed for this wall.
Connery Ryon Class of 2015 American University “Choosing to take a language was one of the best choices I made in my four years
at Kettle Run High School. I decided to take one of the more difficult languages
out there, Arabic, and the unique experience I received could not have occurred
in any other class. Arabic, in itself, not only jumpstarted me on the path to
communicating with people of a different culture but also really improved my English
in terms of becoming more sensitive to grammatical contexts in English. The Arabic
classes I took in high school also enabled me to move proficiently through the
introductory Arabic course during my first semester at American University. The
study habits I developed from the guidance of my high school Arabic teachers have
made me a more mature student. I can now look at each course and envision how I
can apply what I am learning to my future in the professional world. I recommend
that everyone take a foreign language in high school. Even if you do not speak
the language fluidly by the end of the course you will become a more culturally
diverse citizen from the experience in itself.”
Daniel Antonio Melendez Class of 2012 Private First Class United States Marine Corps “As a student at Kettle Run High School I went through the foreign language program.
I took Spanish all the way through to Spanish AP. I learned many valuable and life-long
lessons. I grew up speaking Spanish in my household but with the classes I was able
to refine and grow my fluency in Spanish. I can write and read Spanish interchangeably
with English. I had wonderful teachers in Señora Fermoselle and Señora Reder, they
were wonderful and diligent in teaching us everything. I would highly recommend all
students that go to Kettle Run High School to participate themselves and take the courses.”
Elicia Smith Class of 2015 Florida State University “Taking a foreign language during high school was one of the best decisions I have ever
made, because it was more than simply taking a class. Foreign language classes create
incredible opportunities that you may have otherwise never been presented with, provide
you with skills that expand far beyond the classroom setting, and give you insight into
many different cultures. As a sophomore in high school taking Spanish 4, I was
presented with the opportunity to travel to Spain for two weeks as part of an exchange
program, and it was the greatest, most eye-opening experience of my life. The trip
greatly improved my knowledge of the language, and being completely immersed in the
Spanish culture was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that sparked an interest in
experiencing other cultures. As a college freshman, I still use my Spanish nearly
every day, and I also hope to spend a semester abroad in the near future. I highly
encourage everyone to take a foreign language in high school, because it can truly be
life changing- I know I personally would not be who I am today without it.”
Kiana Walker Class of 2015 Virginia Tech "The best decision I made while in high school was studying a foreign language.
Back when I had to choose an elective I decided on Spanish because I thought it
would look good on college applications, I wasn't expecting to fall in love with
language learning and other cultures. Through taking Spanish at Kettle Run I was
able to travel to Spain, which was one of the most amazing times of my life. I was
able to live (for a week and a half) in a completely different place with a host
family and experience so much in such a short time. That trip really sparked my
interest in learning other languages like French and Arabic which I am now studying
Luke Schwenke Class of 2015 College of William and Mary “Learning a foreign language can be one of the most beneficial things you can do
in high school. Not only do you learn a new skill but you also learn to think in
other ways you hadn’t needed to before. This will give you a greater appreciation
for the English language as well as give you a more well-rounded perspective that
you can apply to other parts of your life. After completing a few summer Arabic programs through StarTalk (Summer program
offered by FCPS), I was able to see just how useful knowing a language, let alone
Arabic, could be. Through StarTalk and Virtual Virginia’s online Arabic curriculum
offered by Kettle Run, I was able to enter William & Mary with foreign language credit.
Arabic is now a big part of my college academic experience and I plan on continuing
into the highest Arabic level here at the College so I can one day use it in whatever
career path I choose. A language like Arabic seems frightening at first but once you
get passed the basics, it can become a really interesting and fun experience. I
encourage everyone at Kettle Run to take advantage of the superb foreign language
classes offered whether it’s through an online portal or a traditional classroom
Maddie Schauss Class of 2013 University of Virginia "I believe that choosing to continue learning and speaking a foreign language after
graduating high school was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I truly enjoyed
the Spanish classes that I took in high school; because of them I had a strong foundation
and understanding of the language going into the university. Once you get past the grammar
and vocab classes, you get to take really interesting and useful literature and culture
classes! I decided to earn a second major in Spanish because it would be really appealing
on a resume. However, I really started enjoying the classes and the actual knowledge of
the language I was learning. In the summer of 2015 I had the opportunity to spend the summer in Valencia, Spain taking
classes and exploring the city. I plan to go back to Spain as soon as I can to learn more
about the country and its culture. I truly think that it is worthwhile to go the extra
mile when it comes to learning another language! Practice, immersion, and reading are only
some of the ways that one is able to really engage with the target language. I am so grateful
to have had the opportunity to study it as extensively as I did while at Kettle Run!"
Marianna Lash Class of 2013 Honors College at George Mason University “For as long as I can remember, I have had a strong desire to learn Spanish. At age
5 I started asking my parents to put me in Spanish classes and learning what I could
on my own. And then, finally, in high school I had the opportunity of beginning this
beautiful language. Not only did I fall in love with the language itself but also the
instruction at Kettle Run. I loved the amazing teachers, the other passionate students,
and the opportunities to go above and beyond the classroom. After finishing Spanish AP
(level 5), I had the opportunity to attend the Spanish Governor's Academy 2012, an
incredible experience that helped me improve my language skills as well as meet students
from all over Virginia who loved the language as much as I. Upon returning to Kettle Run
my senior year (with no more levels of Spanish available to me), I took two levels of
French and one level of Latin, as well as participating in the Spanish Honors Society
and after school tutoring. Since then, I have continued my language studies at George
Mason University where I am pursuing a minor in Linguistics. Having been taught by seven
different foreign language teachers at Kettle Run in three languages, I can safely say
that the KRHS foreign language department is one of the most educational, passionate,
and warm environments I have ever been in and all of the memories I have made through
it will also stay close to my heart.”
Sarah Seeberger Class of 2012 College of William and Mary “Throughout my time at Kettle Run, I enrolled in Spanish courses up to the AP level.
This is something I will never regret as it is so important to know more than one
language, especially in today’s global society. Kettle Run’s foreign language department
works diligently with students to make this possible. You can tell the teachers genuinely
care about their students and want them to excel. Due to this tremendous dedication, I
was able to not only continue my Spanish education at William and Mary, but also at a
university in Spain. I spent a summer semester living with a host family while taking
courses and performing research at the Universidad de Cádiz. It was an extremely
rewarding experience and greatly improved my Spanish skills. I plan to continue my Spanish
education and visit more Spanish-speaking countries in the future. I highly recommend
every student at Kettle Run take advantage of the wonderful opportunities offered through
the foreign language department.”
Sharon Kwarteng Class of 2015 Cornell University “I have always been fascinated with how people all over the world live and communicate.
Taking Spanish in high school provided me with a more realistic perspective of Latin
American/Spanish culture. Experiencing not only the language, but the music, dance,
and food sparked my interest and made me even more curious about other parts of the world.
Luckily, I got the opportunity to participate in the Japanese Governor’s Academy. From
that experience I met great people and was able to familiarize myself with some of the
language and culture. That experience encouraged me to continue studying languages like
French and Spanish in college. I would definitely encourage everyone to take a foreign
language. It can open many doors for you and allow you to become a better world citizen.”
Thomas Walker Class of 2014 George Washington University “Foreign language classes were some of the most interesting classes I took in high
school. I was always drawn in by the ease with which I could apply them to my life
outside of school (i.e. movies, music, and travel). Through both the Spanish Governor's
Academy and the exchange programs to France and Spain I was given a taste of some of
these applications, which inspired me to continue with languages, taking Russian in
university, and finally studying abroad in Sweden, where I hope to soon move permanently.
I truly don't think any of these experiences would have been possible had I not been
so involved with language courses at Kettle Run.”
Trevor Pechtimaldjian Class of 2015 Blue Ridge Community College "I feel that I have by far benefited from taking Spanish in high school more than any
other class, subject, course, etc. I fell in love with the language after three courses
of it. After a year-long hiatus, I decided to take a fourth course, because I missed
Spanish very, very badly. I had some dreams in Spanish and I would almost always try
to translate things I had said in English into Spanish in my head just as a way to keep
from getting rusty. It was always with me the year that I did not take; almost as if it
was haunting me and telling me to go further with it.
I am very glad that I did go further. After taking my fourth course, I had the opportunity
to go to Mexico for about two weeks. Using Spanish in every given opportunity, I made
friends (that I am still in touch with today), I was appreciated by locals for knowing
the language in depth, and was mistaken several times for a Spanish foreign exchange student.
I definitely can’t complain about that, as it was probably one of my biggest compliments on
my Spanish speaking skills! I also have traveled to Puerto Rico twice and used tons of
Spanish to arrange taxi trips, hostel stays, and flirt with plenty of beautiful locals.
Spanish turned me on to opportunities like I would have never expected, and I am now planning
on going to school in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico to study forestry. Mrs. Fermoselle has definitely
helped me a ton on my journey to getting me where I am now with the language. She encouraged
me to continue my study of Spanish and I am extremely fortunate to have been able to
experience learning a new language with the tremendous amount of top tier assistance from her.
Thanks to the accessibility of learning Spanish at Kettle Run High School, I have been able
to create amazing, unforgettable, life-changing experiences."