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Citadel News Service

For Release
Sept. 20, 2004

The Citadel names finalists for Spanish Teacher of the Year award

           Three tri-county teachers have been named finalists in The Citadel's inaugural Lowcountry Spanish Teacher of the Year contest.

           The finalists are Ruth Agnes Cox of First Baptist Church School, Maria Palma of Archibald Rutledge Academy and Lieu Ha Stoddart of Goose Creek High School. The winner will be announced at a reception at 7 p.m. October 12, 2004 in the Greater Issues Room in Mark Clark Hall on The Citadel campus.

           Sponsored by The Citadel's Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, the award aims to recognize outstanding Spanish teachers in Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston county schools.

           "The U.S. is now the 5th largest Spanish-speaking country in the world with approximately 22 million people who speak Spanish at home. Anyone who reads the paper regularly sees how these dynamics have impacted local businesses, the health care and legal systems, and the society in general," said Mark Del Mastro, professor of modern languages and co-director of the awards program "Consequently, Spanish language instruction in the school systems has become an urgent priority, and to encourage the outstanding efforts of all our tri-county K-12 Spanish teachers, we founded this annual award."

           Co-sponsor Office Depot will present the winning teacher with a merchandise card worth $300. The three finalists were chosen from dozens of teachers nominated in the public and private schools in the Charleston area.

           Cox, who is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been teaching Spanish at First Baptist High School since 1998. She also serves as the school's Foreign Language Club adviser and the Foreign Language Newsletter adviser. She was instrumental in founding the Foreign Language Club Scholarship. A graduate of the College of Charleston, she is currently working on her master's in teaching (MAT) at The Citadel.

           Palma, a native of Venezuela, has taught Spanish at Archibald Rutledge Academy since 2001. In addition to writing a new curriculum for all Spanish levels at Archibald, she developed a Spanish language-reading program for lower school students. She has also taught continuing education Spanish courses (Spanish for Health Care Professionals and Conversational Spanish), in addition to implementing a volunteer translation service at her school. She has an undergraduate degree from the Universidad Pedagogica Experimental Libertador.

           Stoddart is a native of Laos, but was raised in the United States. She has taught Spanish at Goose Creek High School since 2000. A graduate of Longwood University, she also is the school's Spanish Club sponsor and coach of the QUEST team. In addition to assisting with the after-school tutoring program at a local elementary school, she teaches a second-language class to Hispanic adults and is a District Evaluator of Teachers of Foreign Languages.


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