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Nada to nadir, Sanibel tops in Spanish Club event

By Staff | Apr 15, 2015

Silvia Zavala with a Sanibel School poster. PHOTO PROVIDED

The island’s public school has become a force in foreign language competition.

The Sanibel School’s Spanish Club placed among Lee County’s best in the World Language Fair 2015. Competition in March brought hundreds of students to the event, said the school’s Spanish language instructor Silvia Zavala. Several of the school’s 18 competitors finished first in dance, in videos and artwork. Others were clustered at the top with their classmates.

Considering there was nada just three short years ago, the school’s performances “were amazing,” Zavala said. “At the beginning of the year I told them we’re going to have fun with this. And they did. That was the most important thing.”

Zavala, whose Spanish language teaching position is funded by a parent group, introduced her students to the World Language Fair in 2013. Art and poster work were the only entries that year. But she watched the other competitors, trying to pattern her program on more successful schools.

Sanibel School Spanish Club kids sent six students in dancing competition in 2014. This year the school’s 6th grade class alone had some 54 students interested in the Language Fair, Savala said. Eighteen Sanibel middle schoolers entered.

Sanibel School Spanish Club team members at the March competition. PHOTO PROVIDED

Sanibel School students practice a couple of hours a week. One of the rewards of the program has been introducing boys to dance, Zavala said, watching them blossom and shed reluctance. The program also introduces the kids to another culture, to embrace the differences and recognize the consistency of all humans, she said.

The ultimate accomplishment at competition in Fort Myers was gratifying, Zavala said.

“For a small school,” she said, “this is a big deal.”

Sanibel School students in this year’s World Language Fair included:

* Three dancing groups.

* Six posters.

* Nine art projects.

* Four videos.

* One singing team.

* Six for one Quizbowl team.

* 18 total students, plus videos and art projects.



* 1st place Camillo Lilleslatten

* 2nd Place Gabriella Miltner

* 4th place Hayley Halsky


* 2nd place Lou Vaugh

* 3rd place Kira Zautcke


* 1st place Emma Halbisen and Osa Nuenlist

* 3rd place Matthew Rose

Entertaining (divided by Dance, instruments and singing)

* Dance 1st place/With a group of 10 students (Rebecca Congress, Zoe Ramsey, Osa Nuenlist, Alyssa Perez, Caitlin McCallion, Caitlin and Carley Ross, Ella Estevez, Carson Liebetrau, Issabella Sbarra)

Dance Ensemble winners overall (middle school and high school)

* 2nd place Julia Dry and Mckenna Sprecher

* 3rd place Julia Coin and Jake Mann

Singing overall (middle school and high school)

* 2nd place Osa Nuenlist

Quizbowl Team

* 3rd place (Jenna Kjoller, Carson Towle, Julia Coin, Alayna Aracri, Jake Mann, Kira Zautcke)