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Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

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I Am Mill Valley: Freshman Natalie Long takes a rare language learning path

Long skipped Spanish II and is now in Spanish III, a class typically taken by sophomores and juniors
I+Am+Mill+Valley%3A+Freshman+Natalie+Long+takes+a+rare+language+learning+path
By Quin Peters

This profile is part of a year-long series called “I Am Mill Valley” that will showcase the talents, interests and achievements of the students and staff at Mill Valley.

Only in her first year of high school, freshman Natalie Long is on a unique and advanced language learning path. Long is taking Spanish III, a class that is generally taken by sophomores and juniors.

At the start of school year, Long was enrolled in Spanish II but felt that she could be challenged more.

“In Spanish II, I felt like it was not very difficult,” Long said. “I felt like I was just going over stuff I already knew from Spanish I and other things, so I decided I wanted to go further and take Spanish III instead.”

In order to move to Spanish III, Long had to test out of Spanish II by passing the Spanish II finals.

I’m very excited to see how she will continue to learn and become better and read more and speak more. She’s always trying to do a little extra and always pushing herself to do the best that she can do.

— Spanish teacher Edith Paredes

“My Spanish II teacher, Mrs. Dillon, gave me the resources for the tests,” Long said. “The resources had all the subjects that we went over in Spanish II and she just let me go study in the library for a couple of class periods. About a week later, I took the finals for that class.”

Spanish teacher Edith Paredes was excited when she heard Long was joining her Spanish III class.

“She might be maybe my third in Mill Valley’s history to take that challenge,” Paredes said. “I get very excited when I see students are so ready to move on and move up and take the challenge because it’s not an easy elective.”

Since Long joined Spanish III toward the end of the first quarter, she was significantly behind in the class. However, she has caught up and found the class enjoyable.

“At the beginning, my grades were a bit lower just because I had to adjust and I was a little behind on certain things since it was already October when I joined the class,” Long said. “But eventually, a month or so later, I found my traction and I’m doing pretty well and it’s a fun class.”

According to Spanish teacher Edith Paredes, Long has not only caught up with the rest of the class, but she has also excelled.

Speaking in front of the class, freshman Natalie Long answers the question in Spanish, Monday, Jan. 29.
(By Eva Hernandez)

“She’s at the top of the class and doing better than some of the kids that have been here the whole year,” Paredes said. “She just brings a whole different level to my teaching in the class. Her classmates look up to her and they’re in awe when she opens her mouth and she speaks Spanish.”

In a class full of sophomores and juniors, Long is eager to learn and not afraid of failing. Paredes believes that this is the most important trait for learning a language.

“She’s hungry for more Spanish,” Paredes said. “She’s very bold and she has no fear which is one of the number one traits of people that will eventually become bilingual. They just use the language with no fear.”

Long plans to continue to take Spanish through high school and up to the new AP Spanish Literature & Culture class for her senior year. Paredes is excited to see Long’s language journey continue.

“I’m very excited to see how she will continue to learn and become better and read more and speak more,” Paredes said. “She’s always trying to do a little extra and always pushing herself to do the best that she can do.”

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About the Contributors
Ian Chern, JagWire copy editor
This is junior Ian Chern’s second year on the JagWire staff. This year he is taking up the role of copy editor along with writer and photographer. Outside of school, Ian enjoys watching sports, listening to music, playing basketball and soccer, volunteering at food banks and spending time with friends and family. He is also a member of NHS, Science Olympiad and likes to participate in Relay for Life.
Eva Hernandez, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Eva Hernandez’s first year on the JagWire staff. This year she will be learning the roles of a writer and photographer. Eva enjoys longboarding around her neighborhood and likes to play sports like flag football, soccer and basketball and she loves to bake for her friends. Eva also enjoys watching scary movies and shopping for shoes. Eva is involved in Relay for Life and would like to join more things as the school year goes on.
Quin Peters, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Quin Peters’ first year on the JagWire staff. She will be exploring the roles of writer and designer for the newspaper this year. Outside of school, Quin crochets, reads, writes creatively and is involved in art. Quin is a member of several clubs at the school, including National Art Honor Society, Youth for Refugees, Women’s Empowerment, Scholars Bowl, Creative Writing Club and Model UN.

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