[IN PLAIN SIGHT] Ep.1 Language Wing Display

Walking down the language wing, it is almost impossible to miss the five flag poles, the neat handcrafts behind the glass windows and the posters along the hallways. So, how long have they been there? Why were they there in the first place? This podcast interviews Spanish teacher
Rolando Castellanos and French teacher Sophie Kerman about the history of these language wing display.

Taryn Karasti: Have you ever been walking around SPA and seen something that made you wonder but you knew nothing about? Have you ever thought about the secrets that the SPA building may be hiding, but never thought to investigate? Well, I’m here to help. My name is Taryn Karasti, and I’m on a mission to answer your questions, and to get to the bottom of all these school secrets. This is: In Plain Sight. For today’s episode, I interviewed Upper School Spanish teacher, Rolando Castellanos, and French teacher, Sophie Kerman, about the display in the language wing. First of all, the language wing wasn’t always where it is today, and it definitely didn’t look the same in the past as it does now.

Sophie Kerman: The old language wing was kind of under where Schilling is, and so like, if you were going through the college counseling hallway, and turned right towards lower Schilling, instead of having that whole kind of L shaped thing where you’re going to Schilling, there was a ramp going down. And the language wing was like half underground, it was kind of garden level. So a lot of the rooms were really dark. And it sort of felt a little bit like a language basement.

Taryn Karasti: But now the language wing is formally known as the Thompson wing.

Sophie Kerman: The Thompson wing was opened up in…I think we moved in in May of 2019. The flags were from when we moved in, in May of 2019, the flags that like that welcome you into the language wing.

Rolando Castellanos: I think the first things that we did was, right, the flags at the end here that’s the first thing that we did and brought my own stuff. And I didn’t ask for permission. I just put the stuff in those empty display cases. But what else will be there? If it was something that had to do with the cultures that have the languages that we teach? And I thought, why instead of having these boring ceilings, we’re bringing flags of the world. And I had to ask the facilities manager and didn’t get quite a definite answer, but then at the end, they agreed, yeah, that sounds like a good thing. And so I went out and glued the flags to the ceiling, and that’s how it all came.

Sophie Kerman: Which Senor Castellanos and I spent a long time hanging to the ceiling. When the when the this wing was first renovated. And for me, that was a very memorable experience. That was also a big kind of a labor of love from Senor, who, like, well, we all felt very passionately about wanting the flags to be able to be there. I think we wanted the language wing to feel joyful and colorful, and obviously multicultural. And just be able to showcase and celebrate all the things that we do.

Rolando Castellanos: And so we started talking about, well, let’s bring a world map and put it in the hallway, maybe flags of the countries that represent the languages that we teach here. And do also the United Nations flag because we are part of a world community. And then I had at home a whole bunch of knickknacks and ornaments and things that we have accumulated from our travels, my wife and I. They’re all very dear to me. Don Quixote is my hero and his friend Sancho Panza and there is…they’re there. There are little knickknacks I have that are from Cuba, that I would have bought in Cuba with our school trip in 2000, when we went to Cuba in 2001 and then there are many that are from Peru that are very dear to me because my wife is from Cusco, Peru. And there’s one piece there that is kind of, I think is very special it’s a vase made by an artist from the Sacred Valley of the Incas. And this person is it renowned potter who worked with clay, and, and glass and wood. And who has a piece of the UN in the World Bank and he made one for Saint Paul Academy and it’s there.

Sophie Kerman: Well, I mean, I think my favorite thing on the display right now there’s a there’s like a road sign kind of thing in French in like the French display case. That points, I think…that I think points to Toulouse. And like they’re our partner school in the exchange has this big pole at their school where like they have arrows and distances to all of the places that they have exchange relationships with it with because they have like a lot of exchange schools in different languages. So that…that sign means a lot to me because we have, we got to be really good friends with the teachers over there.

Taryn Karasti: Now, whenever you walk by the language wing, you know how the display came to be. Until next time, I’m Taryn Karasti And this has been: In Plain Sight