Spanish at the next level

Cervantes Institute partners with Jones to offer an additional language course


The Chicago branch of the renowned Cervantes Institute has offered five program spots for their Spanish immersion program to the Jones Language Department this school year. 

The Cervantes Institute is a worldwide organization that promotes the Spanish language to young learners. The program offers a variety of resources for their volunteers, including a library and highly educated staff members. 

“That extra exposure to the language, as well as being around kids who are motivated to learn in a smaller setting means they’re going to improve their Spanish a great deal,” said the Language Department Chair, Jamie Riste.

Program participants pursuing an additional level of Spanish education are excitedly utilizing this provided opportunity.

“It is always good to get that extra practice,” said Rowan Boyle ‘25. “One of my main goals, both academic and outside of school, is to become fluent in Spanish”.

Students partaking in the program are enthusiastic about the opportunity to get a unique experience as well as exposure to the content.

“I hope to become more comfortable communicating in Spanish and improve my writing skills,” said Isabella Laporta ‘25. 

The program strives to provide an enriching education for their students, even offering to pay for the volunteers’ biliteracy tests once the course is completed. This is observed to allow students to reach the next step in Spanish fluency. 

“I think language is a really helpful tool, and I want to get my Seal of Biliteracy,” said Laporta ‘25.

Working towards this achievement resonates with other students.

“My teacher told me about the program and said it is a full immersion program to help prepare me to take the Seal of Biliteracy test,” said Boyle ‘25. “I thought it sounded like a good way for me to get extra Spanish practice.”  

Along with the number of resources and facilities provided, the staff members have been noted for playing a crucial role in adding to this learning experience. 

“I love the program so far. The teacher is great. He’s a really cool guy,” said Laporta ‘25. “The program is very engaging and it doesn’t feel like school”.

Alongside their educators, the volunteers have an opportunity to interact with peers from around the city. 

“There’s a lot of kids, about 15 students from all different CPS schools in Chicago,” said Boyle ‘25. “It is a nice way to talk to students who go to other schools besides Jones.” 

Students participating have varying levels of experience, but nonetheless have found that they can find value in the course. 

“Even if I haven’t directly learned something new yet, I think I have benefited so far and will continue to benefit from this,” said Boyle ‘25. 

Spanish teachers praise Cervantes for benefiting students who aim to become bilingual. 

“Cervantes is a successful institute for a reason. They’re good at what they do,” said Riste.