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Alumnus returns to speak

Some students view foreign language classes as a requirement, a necessity for high school that they soon forget. However for alumnus Gary Darakjian, ?06, high school years of Spanish have formed the foundation for his major and provided opportunities.

Darakjian attends Pepperdine University and chose to major in Spanish after his experiences with the language in his classes on campus.

?I loved the Spanish III class,? Darakjian said, ?Knowing two languages really expands your outlook; it opens your eyes to differences in cultures and people.?

Beatriz Foth, Spanish II and III teacher, asked Darakjian to speak to the Spanish III students about his experiences in a mission trip in Panama.

?I invited Gary so the students could hear first hand how Spanish can contribute to someone?s future,? Foth said. ?Not many students decide to continue studying Spanish in high school, even though the language opens up opportunities.?

Darakjian spoke about his experiences during the weeklong evangelism and service project trip.

?It was an eye-opening experience,? Darakjian said. ?I was both challenged and moved. It was an opportunity to see God in a different light.?

While Darakjian urged the class to participate in a mission trip if given the opportunity, he emphasized the importance of getting to know the people.

?You learn the most by talking to the regular people,? Darakjian said. ?There is much poverty, but also a lot of joy. You realize all the stuff we have isn?t necessary to live.?

Next school year Darakjian will study abroad at a Catholic university in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

?For my major, it is required to do an intense Spanish immersion program,? Darakjian said. ?I could have attended schools in other countries, but the one in Argentina seemed the best choice.?

Though Darakjian does not know what career he will pursue, he hopes to use Spanish.

?Our world isn?t just made of Americans,? Darakjian said. ?I want to experience as much of it as I can. I have a passion for the Spanish language and the people.?

For the Spanish III students, Darakjian?s presentation provided both encouragement and a challenge.

?It was neat to see someone we know actually be using the language,? Christina Cabias, ?07, said. ?It also made me more interested in missions trips.?

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