By Nicole Rogers
OWEN-WITHEE – Owen-Withee High School Junior Jed Ovyn successfully combined his interest in computer programming with his study of the Spanish language, thanks to his inventive Spanish teacher Brian Popp.
Popp came up with an interesting alternative to Spanish 3and encouraged Jed to take online courses through two Spanish universities.
For several months Ovyn has spent his Spanish 3 class period taking online college classes. He earned his first certificate in programming from the University of Barcelona last November.
“He is currently taking a class through the University of Madrid. This one has more to it, it has three parts and when complete he will earn a professional certificate. And, again, the course is all taught in Spanish.” said Popp.
Jed explained that the classes varied but he would get an introduction, go through videos in Spanish for core concepts and the courseswere challenging but fun.
“We struggled through it at first but now we are cruising,” Ovyn recalled. “I always had an interest in computers; it’s been a hobby or a passion of mine. I want to do programming and work with computers once I get out of school. And I definitely understand more Spanish now than from coming out of Spanish 2.”
Popp said the courses are all accredited and whether they transfer to the U.S. depends on the college. But he feels that it is the skills learned that has the most value.
“It’s more about showing your skills, think about Spanish as a skill that you have rather than just studying the Spanish language. I think a lot of students have the misconception of ‘why should I take Spanish 3? I am not going to go to school for Spanish.’ Like I tell Jed and tell everyone, nobody should go to school for Spanish. (Popp laughs) It’s not a very useful degree. But if you put on your job application, I speak Spanish, now whether you are milking cows or working on google, you have something,” Popp said.
“Even if Jed doesn’t go on to take Spanish, he will have in his resume that he completed these courses in Spanish.
“It takes a special kind of student and that is something Jed has that not everyone has, he can do the hard things because this is tough.I can count on one hand the number of times we used the translator in class. It is about figuring it out and looking at the context. It also takes inner patience because it would be really easy to stand up and say, ‘this is enough.’”
Ovyn discovered that every aspect of this study involved problem solving, not only the programming course itself but also unraveling the Spanish language in a way that is more relatable and hands on than the traditional foreign language class.
Jed is the son of Joel and Cindy Ovyn of Withee.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.