Ann Marie Dorn joined the STM world languages department in 1993 – when the legendary Norb Wishowski was the department chair, and five languages were offered to the Cavaliers: Japanese, French, Latin, Spanish, and German. Although she was first hired to teach Spanish 3 and 4 part-time, Ann Marie quickly transitioned to a full-time role as the number of students taking Spanish increased.
“STM students want to learn,” Dorn explains when asked why she loves STM, “and they understand the inherent value in learning for knowledge’s sake, not just grades.”
While the Cavaliers’ desire to learn has remained consistent over the years, the technology used in the classroom has changed. STM introduced the one to one laptop program in 2007, and all teachers have had to adjust their lesson plans to utilize it.
“In the world languages classes, we use technology as a tool to enhance learning,” she said. “We still require students to read, write, and speak in Spanish and French, but what technology can really open up for language students is the aspect of culture. Students can easily research and prepare presentations on different cultural topics. This cultural knowledge is essential for successful completion of the Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture exam.”
In addition to research for class, students in world languages courses have the opportunity to travel internationally, enhancing their cultural and linguistic education. This year, students are visiting the Spanish cities of Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, and Barcelona. Among many highlights of the trip, students will visit two of the world’s most famous soccer stadiums: Santiago Bernabéu Stadium – the home of Real Madrid – and Camp Nou – FC Barcelona’s home stadium.
With the improved research methods available to students and the opportunity to travel, students are able to learn extensively about events and cultures. “My favorite projects and lessons include cultural subjects that the students have very little previous knowledge about,” Dorn said. “It is important that we expose students to different cultures, and it is incredible that our school’s technology allows for that every day.”
“Mrs. Dorn has been able to connect with her students and reach them on multiple levels. She is committed to their well-being both inside and outside the classroom,” said principal Nic Kelly. “Over the years Mrs. Dorn has forged strong relationships that have allowed her to affect virtually every aspect of her students’ lives. The students that have come under her tutelage have been better prepared for their life endeavors because of their relationship with Mrs. Dorn.”
Thank you, Señora Dorn, for your many years of extraordinary service to STM!