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Foreign Language Festival – muy excelente

In the skit “Dancing with the Stars,” Brandon “Pablo” Rider and Ryan “Mario” Dilley stole the show as they danced to “Stayin’ Alive.” The dance won them the trophy at the end of the evening. S. Stewart photo
In the skit “Dancing with the Stars,” Brandon “Pablo” Rider and Ryan “Mario” Dilley stole the show as they danced to “Stayin’ Alive.” The dance won them the trophy at the end of the evening. S. Stewart photo

The cultures of Spanish countries were celebrated at the Foreign Language Festival Sunday at Pocahontas County High School. Middle and high school students participated in the cooking competition and performed skits they wrote in class.

Each year, Senora Mali Minter organizes the judges pool, which is usually made up of former students.

Rachel Cain and Nathan Hamons have served as judges the past three years and used their personal experiences at the festival to judge their category.

“We did Division I savory,” Cain said. “They did pretty well. It was pretty close. Judging [is easier] because when you’re competing, it’s really nerve wrecking. When you’re judging, you’re more in control.”

Hamons is studying foreign language at West Virginia University, so he enjoyed the students’ take on Spanish cuisine.

“I always like to come back and judge to see how kids get interested in foreign language,” Hamons said. “They did really well.”

Another former student of Minter’s, Kurt Mothes, was a first time judge this year. Recalling his own experiences, Mothes said he enjoyed being on the other side of the competition.

“I competed in the competition for three years in high school and decided I wanted to come back to see how it was going,” he said. “It seems there are a lot of people here interested. I’m going to go ahead and sign up now as a volunteer for next year. The best part about the foreign language festival is getting out and seeing what the students want to eat, and what they think is good and fresh and new. It gives everyone a chance to touch a different culture.”

After the food was down to nothing but crumbs, students and guests filled the auditorium for the entertainment portion of the evening.

Spanish I students competed for possession of the title character “The Taco.” Spanish II students cut a rug in their rendition of “Dancing with the Stars” and Spanish III student Andrew Morrison was “The Last Man in the World” in a short skit he wrote himself.

Macayla Beck and Kati Friel recited original poems.

Before announcing the awards, Spanish Honor Society president Amanda Gibson announced that students and parents who went on the trip to Spain had a special gift for Senora Minter and her husband, Toney.

“Without you, we would still be lost in Spain,” Gibson said. “We couldn’t have asked for better tour guides. We present you with this bouquet, and dinner on us.”

Winners are:

Spanish I and II cooking, individual, savory: First place, Alex Fyock; second place, Cade Walker; third place, Michael Leyzorek; and honorable mention, Danny Kimble.

Spanish I cooking, pairs, savory: First place, Brady Jones and Drake Warder; second place, Logan Davis and Connor Pyles; third place, Wyatt Workman and Ryan Irvine; and honorable mention, Hailliee Garretson and Sydney Rose.

Spanish II cooking, pairs, savory: First place, Michelle Murphy and Melissa Murphy; second place, Kayleigh Arbogast and Allie Burns; third place, Courtney Coetzee and Kelsey Brooks; and honorable mention, Austin DeHaven and Caleb Arbogast, and Braxton Rider and Ryan Dilley.

Spanish I and II cooking, individual, dessert: First place, Macayla Beck, and second place, Ali Honaker.

Spanish I and II cooking, pairs, dessert: First place, Carlie Ervine and Kayla Gibson; second place, Catyln Sparks and Katie Gibson; third place, Kati Friel and Bobbie McNabb; and honorable mention, Ashley Stuart and Danielle Stuart, and Mark Jordan.

Cover Design: First place, Macayla Beck.

Spanish Recitation

Spanish I: First place, Brandon Wilfong; second place, Ali Honaker; third place tie, Ryan Irvine and Christopher Meadows; and honorable mention, tie, Sean Sharp and Bryce Kranc.

Spanish II: First place, Kevin Thompson; second place, Destiny Varner; third place, Ryan Puffenbarger; and honorable mention, tie, Braxton Rider and Carlie Ervine.

Spanish Posters

Spanish I: First place, Amber Sisler; second place, Michael Leyzorek; third place, Ashley Stuart; and honorable mention, tie, Brady Jones and Aaron Jackson.

Spanish II: First place, Kati Friel; second place, Carlie Ervine; third place, Macayla Beck; and honorable mention, tie, Destiny Varner and Kevin Thompson.

Spanish III: First place, Heather Pritt; second place, Goldie McClure; third place, Danielle Stuart; and honorable mention, tie, Samantha Collins and Lara Baudler.

Spanish IV: First place, Natalie Hartzell; second place, Allysa Dunbrack; third place, Miles Goodall; and honorable mention, David Rose.

Spanish V: First place, Amanda Gibson and second place, Makeia Jonese.

The Spanish Honor Society inducted new members into the society which was created by Minter in 2006. Current members President Amanda Gibson, Vice President Fredricah Gardner, Secretary Makeia Jonese, Treasurer Clay Friel, Danielle Cain, Ally Dunbrack, Casey Griffith, Jessalyn Hamilton, Marka Kane, Kayla Lester and Linzi Myers welcomed new members Lara Baudler, Marilyn Creager, Natalie Hartzell, Goldie McClure, David Rose, Danielle Stuart and Miles Goodall.

Minter also recognized Lara Baulder for placing second in the state on the Level III National Spanish Exam.

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at

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