Sofia DiMascio, a 7th grader at our school recently won 3rd place in the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese’s (AATSP) National Poster Contest. DiMascio represents the entire State of Rhode Island, as she is the only student from Little Rhody to place in the national contest.
The AATSP promotes the study and teaching of Spanish and Portuguese languages and their corresponding literature and cultures throughout all levels of education. Each year, the AATSP sponsors a poster contest that is open to K–12 Spanish and Portuguese students whose teachers are current AATSP members.
Our Spanish teacher, Señora DiIorio, is a current AATSP member. This year, two of her students submitted posters for the contest, including DiMascio.
“Es un orgullo para mi haber acompañado a nuestras estudiantes y poder brindar nuevas alternativas de ver cómo el aprendizaje de un idioma es también la apertura para conocer y entender nuevas culturas,” said Señora DiIorio. (It is an honor for me to have accompanied our students and to be able to offer new alternatives to see how learning a language is also the opening to know and understand new cultures).
This year, the AATSP’s theme for the poster contest was: “Español y Portugués para un mundo multilingüe y multicultural” (Spanish and Portuguese for a multilingual and multicultural world).
Sofia's poster, shown below, shows the connection between Spanish-speaking countries. With the phrase “Solo el agua nos separa” (Only water separates us), she depicts how, despite the distance, our countries are connected through our shared language, culture and tradition.
Sofia also drew the flags of all Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries, and, in a mixture of colors, gave a vibrant touch to her creation. She added the Quetzal bird as well, which, according to ancient Mexicans and Mayans, represents a symbol of goodness and light. Its green tail feathers are also seen as symbols for growth in the spring. In several Mesoamerican languages, the term Quetzal has the meaning of “sacred” or “precious”.
Sofia completed her poster on March 3, just two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic firmly took root in the United States. Especially at a time when we are more distant from each other than ever before, Sofia's winning poster, full of color and rich in symbolism, seems apt for this day and age. It certainly brings us much hope and much comfort knowing that, regardless of how far apart we are, we are truly united together by something greater than ourselves--our language, our culture, our hope!
“Sofia's work is beautiful and warm,” said Señora DiIorio, “We are very proud of Sofia and applaud her talents and creativity”
Sister Maria Francesca, O.P., Principal of St. Pius V School, said that Sofia has made the Firedog Family proud.
To view the other winning posters for the AATSP’s contest, visit their website.
Sofia DiMascio (left) and Harriett Kay (right) proudly hold their posters before sending them to the AATSP for review on March 3, 2020.