Celebrating Life's Voice Box.

Alumna Kiernan Flanigan presents at a Spanish Symposium

Watching our St. Thomas Aquinas students move forward in their proficiency in world languages brings our community great pride. To know and to speak a foreign language helps to make our world a smaller place, one where all peoples and cultures can be celebrated and enjoyed.

STA Alumna Kiernan Flanigan '19 not only mastered the Spanish language while she was a student but she has gone on to stand out with her proficiency at the college level.  As a sophomore this year at Simmons College, Kiernan took a class entitled, “Spanish Culture through Film.” In the course, she completed a research project on gender roles in Hispanic Society. Her professor was so impressed with Kiernan’s work that she asked her to present at the annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works. Of the three presenters selected, Kiernan is the only sophomore, the other two are juniors.

Yesterday, Kiernan presented her research project entirely in Spanish and then participated in a Question and Answer session. The purpose of the Symposium is to showcase the work students are doing in the upper-level Spanish courses. It was a surprise to Kiernan's professor to learn that she is only a sophomore in such an advanced course.  

Kiernan’s impressive accomplishment is underscored by the fact that she never received any Spanish instruction in middle school. She began her journey with Spanish as a freshman in Spanish 1 and studied under Ms. Erin Murphy (her mother), Prof. Howard Puertas, and Sra. Miriam Hanlon. “The skills she mastered at STA helped her place into a Spanish Conversation & Composition course during her first semester at Simmons, and she has advanced from there,” reflects Ms. Murphy. “She is now analyzing social and cultural norms through Spanish film and literature, which is very sophisticated content.” Kiernan will also earn a minor in Spanish after she completes one additional course.

The STA World Language Department is known and respected for piquing students’ interest in world languages. They are not only set on enhancing each student’s proficiency but also on expanding their global awareness and understanding of other cultures.  This, of course, is what ensures that St. Thomas Aquinas is true to its holistic approach in educating each student in mind, body, and spirit. To be able to communicate with people who are sojourning through this world together closes the gap among our differences. And it ensures that our young adults move forward into their future with Spanish or French in their life’s voice box.

Thank you to Kiernan Flanigan for sharing her story and to our STA World Language Department for being extraordinary stewards of Catholic education.

Saints Pride!

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