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Maris Miller balances four language courses

Mackenzie Sendro

Mackenzie Sendro

Junior Maris Miller completes an assignment in her German class, one of the four language courses she juggles in school. Miller's eventual career goal is to be a multilingual translator.

Taylor Donahue, Baldwin High School

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Many students just take the recommended three years of language in high school just to complete their college applications, and then forget everything they learned within a few years.

Junior Maris Miller is studying four languages right now, and plans to use them in her future career.

Miller currently is taking is French IV, German III, Spanish II, and Latin I.

After being first introduced to a variety of foreign languages in seventh grade through the FLEX program, Miller chose to take French.

Once in high school, Miller eventually chose to learn four different languages to better enhance her ability to create a career out of it.

“French is the easiest for me only because I began to learn it first, so I compare other languages to it. German is the hardest because there aren’t many similarities to French,” Miller said.

Miller decided she wanted to learn as many languages as possible because of the enthusiasm of French teacher Katie Jarocki.

“Mrs. Jarocki and her enthusiasm for not only teaching, but her passion for the French language and culture inspired me to get more into language,” Miller said.

Jarocki has known Miller since her freshman year, when Miller was in French II.

“She was the first student who had asked how it would work for her to take different languages at different levels,” Jarocki said.

Spanish teacher Kathryn Defazio said Miller picks up languages quickly.

“Maris is a phenomenal language learner. For some people, acquiring a foreign language comes easily, and Maris is one of those people. She always impressed me by remembering a word that she heard me say only once,” Defazio said.

Defazio said in her nine years of teaching she has never met a student who has chosen to study four languages.

Miller wants to turn what she is learning into a career as a multilingual translator for the government.

“I really love being able to speak to people all over the world and connect on a personal level by speaking their native tongue rather than English, and because of that I hope I can turn it into a career,” Miller said.

Her teachers are confident she will succeed.

“In terms of her future career, I think whatever she decides to do with language, she will have no problem doing,” Jarocki said.

Through taking more language classes, Miller has developed a deeper appreciation for different languages and cultures — an experience that other students might be missing, she said.

“Slacking off in foreign language classes can hinder your opportunity to travel abroad or even vacation somewhere due to the language barrier,” Miller said.

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