At The Northwest School, we value the diversity of all our students, faculty, staff, and families. We recognize and appreciate the many ways that Hispanic Americans have enriched our school with their talents, creativity, and passion. We also acknowledge the challenges and struggles many Hispanic Americans have faced and continue to face in our society.
During this month, we invite you to learn more about Hispanic heritage and culture. Here you can explore the stories and achievements of inspiring Hispanic Americans and members of our community. We hope this month will inspire you to celebrate our school's and nation's diversity and appreciate our differences, beauty, and strength.
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! ¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!
Mónica Van Loon
By Maddie S. (2024)
Mónica Van Loon formerly Monica Rojas is a beloved Spanish teacher here at Northwest. It is her fifth year here. Her bright smile and sparkly personality make her very fun to talk to and this interview is no different. “I was born in Mexico City'' she explains, “I moved to the United States in the year 2000, because I got married to an American love” We laugh and I ask how they met, “I met him in Mexico, in Cancun, and we were there together for a few years and then he moved back to the States and we decided to be together there.”
After asking her about herself we talk more about Northwest and if there’s anything she feels lucky to have experienced or taken part in. She answers that: “I think that the forefront training is something that is really dear to my heart we talk about suicide prevention and it’s very important to be a voice for our communities”. Hispanic Heritage Month is a good time to talk about the work she’s done for the forefront, “ I actually translated all their presentations into Spanish. But not only the translation for the language but the cultural translation as well, so people could really feel that connection when talking about topics like that.” The work Mónica does provides a deeply important service to make sure that the presentations about life-saving information are accessible to all people.
My last question for her is something she wants people to know about her. “I think everybody knows this about me but I just wanted to say that I love this place, we are working to do something that is not easy and is hard to integrate the arts and the languages. I am always learning. It's always a joy to get to know the people here”.
By Jiayu H. (2024)
What is your name?
“My name is Isabel Constanzo”
Where are you from?
“I’m from Seattle, but my family’s from Chile.”
How long have you been in the USA? And Northwest School?
“So, I’ve been here almost my whole life, but went to university in Vancouver BC, and then I did a year abroad in Chile.”
What is one of the most meaningful things you’ve experienced/done at The Northwest School?
“I think one of the more meaningful things, I mean, I get to be a part of the Latin American Student Union (LAU), one of our affinity spaces, where we do work that pushes us to be uncomfortable so that we can continue to grow.”
Would you like to share something no one else knows about you?
“Yeah, well, something that some people know about me: I mentioned that my family’s from Chile, and so both my mom and my dad are Chilean, and both of my family left in exile from Chile during a U.S.-sponsored military dictatorship there, in the 70s, in 1973. And so that’s a huge part of me and what I carry in my heart. And my work is that history and that which is very relevant today. Chile just had the 50th anniversary of the coup, and like, how do we move forward, yeah, it’s just a huge part of my identity and how I move around in this world, in this school.”
Luis von Ahn - Contributions to Learning Communities
By Annette Galindo (Faculty)
Guatemalan-born Luis von Ahn is regarded as one of the pioneers of crowdsourcing. However, he is most well-known for two significant contributions to modern technology—the reCAPTCHA system and Duolingo.
You may not know what reCAPTCHA is, but you see it almost every time you sign into a new website. It’s those “I am not a robot” checkboxes and distorted text images that you have to complete before accessing certain pages. Though annoying at times, reCAPTCHA helps computers differentiate between robots and human beings, keeping internet users safe from malware and spam.
Luis von Ahn is also the co-founder of Duolingo, a completely free app that has caused a major buzz among those wanting to learn another language. According to NBC News, the app provides free language education covering 33 languages and serves about 300 million users worldwide.