The Board of Directors, members and staff of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) join the nation, the Virginia Tech family and the foreign language education community in mourning the horrible tragedy of April 16. Through thoughts and prayers, we offer our condolences and support to the families, friends and all those who are dealing with the loss of loved ones.
This horrible event was made even more personal as we discovered that some victims were members of our language education community. Virginia Tech faculty members Christopher James Bishop and Jocelyne Couture-Nowak and students Daniel Cueva, Caitlin Hammaren and Henry Lee were known to us over time as students, teachers, mentors, colleagues and friends, and as yet- unidentified victims and survivors also may be connected to us this way. Like all of those who were lost or injured, these people have been part of the fabric of our lives, giving the best of themselves to us and taking the best of what we had to offer to them. For those victims who are struggling to recover, we wish a swift return to us. For those who cannot return, we will remember that they were valued in life and will be sorely missed by those of us they have left behind.
On behalf of our more than 9,000 foreign language education professionals, ACTFL will join the thousands who will contribute to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund at http://www.vt.edu/tragedy/memorial_fund.php to assure that the spirit of those we lost will live on. We urge our members to join us with individual contributions to this fund.
Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for 18 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and watch the Red Sox. Preferably not all at once, although that could be interesting. To see her online portfolio please click here!