Spanish Summer Institute at LTCC | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Spanish Summer Institute at LTCC

More than 500 veteran and novice Spanish speakers brushed up on their espanol last week during Lake Tahoe Community College’s 8th annual Intensive Spanish Summer Institute.

For a few days each August, the college campus is transformed into a Mexican pueblo where students from across the United States may choose from power-packed courses in Mexican arts and crafts, salsa dancing, Latin cooking, Spanish slang and street language, Spanish for the medical profession or many others.

Institute classes are known to fill quickly. This year’s program, which ran August 5 through 10, ranked highest in attendance, with 555 enrollees.



“Our registration fills up almost immediately,” said Sue O’Connor, co-coordinator for the Spanish institute. “We turn away literally hundreds of people.”

Co-coordinator Diane Rosner said it is amazing how much Spanish people can learn in one week.




South Tahoe High School Spanish teachers Tere Tibbetts and Pam Lannen also instruct courses during the college’s institute.

“You have to keep in mind you have one hour with one class,” Tibbetts said. ” You have to keep it very generic, very general. You can’t teach them three years of Spanish in one hour, but you can teach them what you think will be useful.”

Hispanic culture and language, grammar classes, small group conversations with native speakers, computer programs, videos, topical mini courses and 111 cultural breakout sessions provide students an opportunity to gain a better overall understanding of the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture.

Approximately 60 native Spanish speakers from the South Shore community led conservational groups and cultural breakout sessions at this year’s institute, Rosner said.

Twelve-year-old Taven Anderson and his younger brother Finn came up from Placerville for the institute.

“We’re here with my mom. She was interested in Spanish first,” Taven Anderson said. “My family went to Guatemala for two weeks in February so then I became interested in Spanish.”

Finn Anderson, 10, said he enjoyed his grammar classes and thinks it is cool to learn a different language.

College Vice President Lori Gaskin said she was pleased with this year’s turnout for the program.

“What we’re particularly proud of is this is such a spectacular opportunity for students to enrich their Spanish skills while at the same time, learning on a cultural level,” Gaskin said. “It’s 555 students celebrating the richness of what it means to know a foreign language.”


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