Magnet Awareness Week highlights foreign language program
November 13, 2014
Nov. 4-8 marks HISD’s annual Magnet Awareness Week. The magnet program allows students who are not zoned to Bellaire to enroll in the school. Magnet students must select two of the 11 languages offered in order to be in the program.
The magnet program has proven to be influential in many of the participants’ career paths. Senior Valentino Moreign, a German, Mandarin Chinese, French and Hindi speaker, chose to attend Bellaire to further his career path in global business.
“I have been inducted into the German National Honor Society, Chinese Honor Society and French National Honor Society,” Moreign said. “I have tutored other German, Mandarin Chinese and French students. Additionally, I have represented Bellaire in many language speaking competitions, winning 4th place twice in the National French Contest, 4th place in the regional Houstonfest German Competition and 9th place statewide in the Texas German Contest.”
Because of the opportunities provided by the magnet program, Moreign has participated in many national programs specializing in the study of his languages.
“I was 1 of 53 students at the University of Pennsylvania’s Management and Technology summer program 2014, where I was able to connect with students in their respective languages,” Moreign said. “I also interned with Hybrid Decisions Corp. Incubation Labs and represented them at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 Houston, while there I was able to connect with German, Mandarin Chinese and French-speaking professionals.”
Former Spanish and Latin student and University of Texas sophomore Anna Hiran continues to use the skills that she acquired from participating in the magnet program in her college courses.
“I equate Bellaire’s magnet program to UT Austin’s Business Honors Program because both encouraged, and still encourage, me to network in a smaller group of people I want to get to know really well,” Hiran said. “My experience with Bellaire’s magnet program was an extremely positive one. The most important and memorable takeaway for me was being given the chance to build lasting and meaningful relationships with others at a school that promoted openness and acceptance.”
Many of the magnet students continued their concentration in their language by participating in a year abroad. Seniors Sarabeth Sandwiess and Maddie Bergoon are both living in foreign countries to learn the culture of the languages that they studied.
“I took Spanish as my contract language and German as my second language,” Sandwiess said. “I ended up enjoying German so much that I continued to take it throughout high school. The magnet program allowed me to pursue my love of languages. I participated in Amigos de las Americas where I lived in Peru for 8 weeks, and now I am spending my senior year in Germany on the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship.”
Bergoon spent three months in Spain on one of the Council on International Educational Exchange’s study abroad programs. Bergoon appreciated the opportunities presented to her by actively participating in the magnet program.
“The benefits of being a magnet student are so bountiful, I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am that I made the decision to come to Bellaire,” Bergoon said. “Regardless of how far I’ve had to drive over the years to get to school, if I was to do it again, I would without a doubt choose Bellaire. I’ve gotten to participate in so many awesome activities through my foreign language education.”