Good Talk: Señora Cerqua

Meet the Spanish teacher whose class once sprang to action in search of her lost wedding ring.

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photo by D. Crickets

Chelsea Boyer, Social Media Editor

When did you start speaking Spanish?

I started learning Spanish in the 9th grade in high school.  I really enjoyed the class.  I loved learning the language, learning about the cultur,e and speaking it in class.

Where did you grow up?

I am from Hazleton, Pennsylvania.  It is a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. It is just south of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.

How often do you start speaking Spanish at home?

I try to speak Spanish every day at home with my daughter. She doesn’t like it but then that pushes me to do it more.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would love to live near water.  My dream spot would be Santorini, Greece.  I have never been (yet!), but every picture I have ever seen just looks amazing.  The white-washed buildings and the crystal blue water together creates an ideal spot.  If I can’t have Santorini, I would be happy in Nantucket or somewhere in New England.  As long as I can have a porch, a chair, and a book facing the water, I would be happy.

What has been the most difficult part of remote learning for you or your class?

For me, the most difficult thing about remote learning is getting my students to participate. Oftentimes getting your students to participate in a Spanish classroom is challenging. But now, adding in the remote learning component brings another layer to this tricky puzzle. I am eager to get back to the hybrid model because I did have more success and more students engaged that way.

Why did you want to be a teacher? Why Spanish?

Well, I actually went to Penn State and graduated from Penn State with an International Business degree. I went on a couple of interviews in New York and DC but never felt like any of those jobs were quite for me. I even considered being an international flight attendant with hopes to fly between the US and Spain, but again I didn’t get the butterflies in my stomach with that job, either. My parents were not very happy with me during this time period in my life. I still had friends and a waitressing job I could return to in State College, so I decided to go back up to Penn State and take a few more classes.  I took two more Spanish classes and two education classes and, well, the rest is history!

What is a weird and/or fun teaching story you have?

I do have such a story. It was several years ago, one of my first years here at NASH, I was teaching in room 216, it was during period 4, and I was still using an overhead projector for my lesson (Yikes!). As I was teaching this lesson on direct object pronouns, I remember twisting my wedding ring around on my finger like I often used to do and all of a sudden I noticed a sharpness and a void on my ring. I screamed out loud when I looked down and saw that the diamond on my engagement ring was gone. My students asked what was wrong, and I quickly shared what the problem was. My 4th period class started to search for the lost diamond, and I went next store and got Madame Zaun to look as well. We looked in the room, in the hallway, in my school bag, in the bathroom, etc. Other teachers as well came and tried to help me find my lost diamond. At this point, I was crying because there were only 6-7 minutes left until period 5, and if it was in the hallway with all the kids walking it would surely be lost forever. Madame Zaun started to pray to St. Anthony, and I started to look one more time near the doorway of room 216 — and there, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something shiny. It was my lost diamond on its side. I found it. We found my diamond! It was a miracle! I could not believe it. I was so very grateful to everyone that helped. And that is why I don’t where my wedding ring to school anymore!

What hobbies do you have that people would be surprised to know?

I am not sure if it really is that interesting, but when summer comes around, I become an avid reader. During the school year, I don’t have much time to do personal reading, so I do most of it in the summer. I go to Northland Library and stock up on books and/or request books that I have been dying to read all year and just go from one book to another all summer long. There have been many summers where I’ve read 30-40 books by summer’s end. I also enjoy shows that start with G- Grey’s Anatomy, General Hospital, Goldberg’s, Glee.

What is your favorite movie and why?

Hard Question. I would have to say that I have two. I love The Holiday. It takes place around Christmas, and I do love Christmas. It also partly takes place in the English countryside in a quaint village with a quaint cottage and it just looks lovely. Lastly, I adore all the actors in this film. I can watch it over and over again which I often do. My second favorite film is Beauty and the Beast. Who can resist a movie about a brunette and a book?

If you weren’t a Spanish teacher, what other profession might you be interested in?

If I wasn’t a Spanish teacher, I would like to be a Disney vacation planner. I love everything Disney and love planning trips for my family to Disney. I would like to share my knowledge with others. And in order to be a good planner, you have to go to the parks and on cruises to know what is happening there. Win win!

Which superhero would you be and why?

I would like to be Black Widow or Valkyrie (I am not sure if Valkyrie is considered a superhero or not). But the two I both mentioned are women and they do spend some quality time with Thor so I would think they would be good options for me.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Unfortunately no.

What advice do you have for your students at the moment?

This too shall pass. You’ve come too far to give up now. So my wish is that at the end of each day you make yourself proud. You’ve got this!