Two area teachers have a lot to dance about.
Matilde Pettingill, a Spanish teacher at South Columbia Elementary School, and Enrique Vasquez, chair of the Department of Foreign Language at A.R. Johnson Magnet School, have been awarded the 2002 Best of Foreign Language Association of Georgia Award. The two presented an hour-long session during the spring meeting of FLAG and were recently chosen to receive the association's top award.
"Nearly 150 to 200 people attended their session," said FLAG President Dr. Jana Sandarg, who also is a professor in the Department of Language, Literature and Communication at Augusta State University and serves as chair of ASU's Foreign Language Committee. "The session was elbow-to-elbow. People were turned away."
The teachers presented their session to Spanish teachers on three different techniques they could use to teach students through dance. The session was presented in Spanish.
"We wore the regalia and complete costumes of the area and gave a synopsis of the background of the dances," said Vasquez. "We taught them the Tango, which is the national dance of Argentina, the folklore dances of the Andies and the international dance of Spain."
For their efforts, Pettingill and Vasquez will be allowed to present their session during the Southern Conference of Language Teachers in Atlanta Feb. 27 through March 3, 2003. Foreign language teachers from more than 12 states will be in attendance.
"I think it's an honor to receive this award," said Sandarg. "It's not easy to get this. We have people who are really talented and it was real hard to choose."
Pettingill is equally excited to have received the award.
"I'm very excited because my collaboration from the community is to show all of the dances from around the world," said Pettingill, a former professional ballet dancer and native of Paraguay. "This is not from a book, but from my personal knowledge."
Pettingill also grew up in Argentina and has used her life as a means of exposing students to what she calls the "full arts. I do in the classroom what I do at these sessions. I'm teaching through the arts."
For Vasquez, who has received the Best of FLAG Award twice in the past 15 years, it is nice for the recognition to come back to the area.
"We are thrilled about this because we haven't seen this kind of recognition in this area in a long time," he said. "This award usually goes to a presenter from Atlanta."
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