Lack of Language

Language options at Freedom grow smaller


Ava Colorito, Staff Writer

As a student growing up in Freedom Area School District, one is given a unique experience to learn a language, other than English, for a short time in middle school and as a full class in high school. Imagine the excitement to learn of a new culture and the language that they speak to find there is only one option for a language. The Spanish language has been offered in the high school since its formation, along with other languages such as French, German and Mandarin Chinese; but what happened to the abundance of languages offered to students?

At one point in time Spanish wasn’t the only language offered; the German and French languages were also available.

“[When] I was in high school here from 1997-2001, and the school offered Spanish, French, and German.” Spanish teacher Miss Gudzan said, “The teacher who had taught both French and German left her job, and German went away.  They hired a French-only teacher and when introductory language classes started being offered at the middle school, it was enough for this teacher to have a full time job teaching only French. The numbers kept declining though, and the last year of French at Freedom was the first year I taught here – 2009-10. The following year, 2010-11, Freedom introduced a Chinese program.  It stayed for two years, but enrollment was not high enough to validate keeping it.”

There was also a difference in class size in which more kids were interested in taking a language.

“Enrollment at Freedom is significantly lower than it was when I was in high school.  We had 167 kids in my graduating class.” Gudzan said.
The German language is mainly spoken in seven countries, including Germany. The French language is mainly spoken in 39 countries—mostly in Africa, but including Germany. The Spanish language is mainly spoken in 24 countries, including Spain and the United States. Of course there is a demand for any language, but there is more of a demand for Spanish in and around the United States.

“Spanish makes the most sense to offer since there is such a large Spanish speaking population in this country, and it is ever increasing.” Gudzan said

Spanish classes continue to thrive with Gudzan teaching Spanish II, Spanish III and Spanish IV and Spanish I teacher Mr. Craig Bohon. A trip to a Spanish-speaking country is held every two years and continues to have high attendance. The last trip was a trip to the country of Peru and currently a trip to Panama in April 2019 is in the works.

As the Spanish population rises in the United States and becomes more popular, Spanish classes look to have a permanent spot in Freedom’s class options.