The doors of languages


Languages have been spoken and studied for thousands of years with the first written language dating back to the Sumerian language from southern Mesopotamia in 3100 BCE. 

Since then, languages have evolved and grown off of each other to make accommodations for everyone and creating about 31,000 languages throughout history and 6,000 languages spoken all over the world today. 

Nowadays, language is not only something that helps us communicate, but it allows for new possibilities and opens doors for a person.

Learning a second language can allow students to have greater academic achievements, further develop their cognitive abilities, and create an understanding and appreciation of other cultures in the world. 

Being proficient in 2 or more languages is where the money is really at. Having the knowledge and power of a second or third, even a fourth language allows for new opportunities that previously weren’t available.

One of those opportunities is that of the teachers of new minds. 

With almost 40,000 foreign language teachers here in the United States, it is no wonder why more and more native English speakers are looking to these figures with inspiration and wonder about what knowledge they can gain.

Right in the heart of Fort Wayne, Indiana at Carroll High School sits some of the most well-loved, respected, and looked up to language teachers. 

One such teacher is Nancy Scholz. 

Scholz teaches ASL 2 and 3 this year at the high school level and has been teaching for 8 years at Carroll. 

“I started an ASL club during the activity period,” said Scholz. “Carroll had two deaf students who used sign language and I wanted them to be able to communicate with their peers.” 

The love for the language consistently inspired 70 students each week to meet during the activity period and learn everything they could in the short about of time that they had. 

“Many expressed their interest in learning ASL as a class,” said Scholz. “I prepared a proposal to the school board and it was accepted.” 

Now the craving for learning ASl has grown so much that not all three levels of ASL offered at Carroll can be taught in one year because of its popularity and available teachers. 

And with every great teacher also comes a great backstory, “My mom was deaf but never learned ASL,” said Scholz. “I got a degree in deal education and later became a nationally certified sign language interpreter.” 

The Fort Wayne area may not have a large population of deaf people, but Scholz says that when she does get feedback from the deaf community, it is always positive. 

With just a few short years she has had at Carroll, Scholz can recall many good memories of the students she has taught over the years. 

One specific moment when Scholz realized that her efforts were for the greater good was when she realized just how much she touched the deaf community right at Carroll. 

The second year I taught ASL, one of the deaf students went to prom with a group of girls who were taking my class,” said Scholz. “They had learned enough ASL to have basic communication with her and they invited her to get ready and have dinner before going to prom. She was so happy. The original goal of starting the class was to give her opportunities exactly like this.”

ASL isn’t the one language that gets to have all the fun though, French here at Carroll also receives the same amount of positive feedback and love according to seasoned French teacher Linsey Ravis. 

Madame Ravis got her to start the way most second language majoring students got theirs, loving their high school language class. 

“When I was in my high school French class I just fell in love with the language and culture,” said Ravis. “I also thought my teacher was the best ever.” 

Students can learn better when they feel safe in a given environment, and Madame Ravis has not only given her students that safe place but has put time and effort into getting to know every one of her students. 

“A student came to tell me how much it meant to them that I asked how they were doing because I noticed that they didn’t seem quite themselves,” said Ravis. “He said I was the only one who asked how he was so he appreciated it.” 

Madame has touched the lives of so many and interested the masses, but one student stood out from all the rest with his passion going way beyond the classroom. 

Alex Severence graduated last year and is looking to pursue a career as a Cryptologic Language Analyst for the U.S. Air Force, a career he never thought to consider. 

“My high school language class first introduced foreign language learning to me, opening up a whole new field of studies that has enveloped my whole world,” said Severance. “I continue to be fascinated with the study of foreign languages, and grammar, and have a desire to comprehend what I cannot immediately understand.” 

Severance previously felt that a career choice in pharmaceuticals was far more fitting for him, but after being a part of Madame Ravis’s classes, his mind was changed and new goals were set.

“My French teacher, Madame Ravis, was paramount in influencing my future career choice,” said Severance. 

The teacher and students’ cases can be life-changing and influential. 

When young minds are exposed to the kind of attention and knowledge that great teachers such as Ravis and Scholz continue to give, it can become so impactful to students. It allows them to open doors that they didn’t even know existed, and with the way the world is turning today, it gives them a leg up in the competitive world later in life. 

With countless studies and tests done about the benefits of learning and second language, it seems like a no-brainer to start working with some of the amazing staff at Carroll high school.