Teacher serving students here and abroad
Audra Stablein is using a life experience to try to help underprivileged students in Guatemala as well as educated her own students.
The Belle Vernon Area Spanish language teacher was inspired to do so following a nine-day teacher institute trip to the Central America nation in July.
It was organized by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University. She was sponsored locally by the Center for Latin American Studies through the University of Pittsburgh.
The goal was to study the influence of ancient and modern Mayan culture in Guatemalan society and to integrate what she learned into curriculum for her students at home.
“My Spanish V class is where I'm going to spend most of the time discussing what I learned,” Stablein said. “In the class, everything is taught in Spanish. We are farther ahead of the other class levels, so we focus more on cultural and social aspects.
“I really like to learn things that I can share with my students. I couldn't imagine being a language teacher and not doing the things I am.”
The trip took a more meaningful turn for Stablein when she visited a primary school in Chimaltenango, outside Antigua, which serves both middle-class families and indigenous families that lack financial support. The school's objective is to integrate the local Mayan language with instruction in the primary language, Spanish.
“It was heart-wrenching,” Stablein said. “A lot of the kids' education depends on international funding. The school really needed money. I really want my students to be able to do something to help.”
She said the school relies on sponsorships – mostly from North America – adding that Rotary International-Canada has played a large role in aiding the Guatemalan students.
“I'm not sure if our local Rotary Clubs would get involved,” Stablein said. “I'm looking into a lot of different things and ideas. I definitely want my students to do something.”
Stablein, who teaches Spanish I through V, said her students have been receptive of the idea of sponsoring a child.
“I have 11 students in the upper-level class, and they're excited,” said Stablein, a 1998 Ringgold High School graduate.
Stablein said that she'd like to help the school in Guatemala annually.
“Hopefully, with the students and possibly some local organizations, we can help get funding for that school,” she said.
Stablein has traveled abroad extensively and wants to return to Guatemala. She's traveled to Spain for her studies, and has been to Uruguay and other parts of Latin America. She lived in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, from 2003 to 2005.
“When I was in Quito, we had the movies and we went to the mall. As weird as it sounds, just because it's a little bit different doesn't mean that it really is. When I lived in Ecuador, I learned the traditions, I learn the music ... the family I lived with is like my second family.”
Stablein she is most thankful for getting the opportunity to help people through her travels.
“I really want to make a difference,” she said. “When I saw the school, I made the choice that I want to sponsor one of the students. It's important to me, I'm passionate about it and I am really committed to doing it.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Penguins slip past Sharks, 3-2, in shootout
- Sex-soaked culture faulted for fraternity house parties
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- McKeesport Area teacher among winners at group’s inaugural Champions of Learning awards dinner
- McKeesport Area student’s prize-winning song about brother helps heal family tragedy’s wounds
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, ‘day-to-day’ with concussion
- Researchers uncover details to help get GOP candidates elected
- Penguins notebook: Five defensemen dress against San Jose
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense