Return to Headlines

Speaking Up for Clean Water Access, in Spanish Class

two students at a display boardThe Spanish 3 Honors students at North Salem High School recently considered an urgent question: How close are we to ensuring clean water and sanitation access for everyone by 2030? These students embraced their roles as global citizens by researching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to improve the health and welfare of under-resourced communities worldwide.

"What has been done, what still needs to be done, and what is your opinion?" asked Heide DeMorris of her students. "They needed to analyze data and trends and report on current initiatives while offering opinions and recommendations on achieving the target," DeMorris said.

Using Spanish-language articles and infographics, groups examined efforts and challenges of expanding clean water and sanitation access worldwide. These ninth and tenth graders dug into the project by crafting slides and speeches entirely in Spanish. Some relied on notecards, while others spoke from memory, summarizing details during slideshow presentations to the class.

"Doing a presentation in English is hard, so this was even harder," said sophomore Lilli. "But we did it!" 

DeMorris acknowledged the challenge of incorporating grammar and new vocabulary to accomplish these project-based lessons. She encouraged her students to have confidence while improving their language skills. "Please make mistakes and feel comfortable making those mistakes. Everyone here wants you to do well," she said.

Freshman Erick felt confident about presenting to his class. However, he was surprised at the worldwide lack of access to clean water. "I didn't know a lot about the impact of water shortages and how it causes hygiene problems, especially for women and children."

"Moving forward, we will look at the other UN objectives, particularly human rights. Would anyone be interested in trying a debate in Spanish next? That will require additional vocabulary and research to be prepared," said DeMorris to a round of enthusiastic responses.