Senior receives first place in Spanish prose contest

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Some students love to write poetry or stories, and senior Gabriela Coutinho is one of these students; she loves to express herself by writing about her life and experiences. However, she does so in Spanish. This past month, Coutinho, as well as fellow Spanish Honor Society seniors Eric Bazail and Kevin Yeung, had their works published in “Albricias,” a biannual National Spanish Honor Society journal. Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), “Albricias” features prose, essays, poetry and short articles as well as photography and artwork from students around the country. The AATSP also gives out prizes in the prose category, and Coutinho was thrilled when she found out she had won the first place prize.

The theme for this issue of Albricias was “La Gastronomia” which is food in Spanish. Originally from Brazil, Coutinho found no better fit than to base her work on her emotional connection to food from her patria. “I do a little cute part [in the poem] where I’m doing a recipe for brigadeiros, which is a traditional food from Brazil. It’s the recipe from my past, so it just takes me back to that time and transports me,” Coutinho said. “[Sra. Silva, her Spanish teacher] encourages us to submit [a piece] every time there is an opportunity to and thought the idea of having a journal with the work of different students everywhere was really beautiful. I think it’s also extremely interesting to see how each romance language comes with a unique story, and, because the Hispanic language and culture is very similar to mine, I always feel like I can express myself more authentically when I am writing in Spanish or Portuguese.”

Coutinho describes her experience writing for “Albricias” as “very sweet and authentic that came very fluidly because it’s something that [she] hold[s] very close to [her] heart.”

“These are emotions that I do actually go through when I smell or eat a brigadeiro and I’m immediately transported back to that time of my life to when I was happier and more naive,” Coutinho said.  

Coutinho is also the president of English Honor Society, but, when asked what language she prefers writing in, Coutinho says she loves to write in Spanish because of the story behind the language and her personal connection to it. “I like both [languages] a lot and it’s very very fun to see how there are untranslatable words in both. I love seeing this because it also highlights the culture each language is tied to and what is important in each culture. I feel like those two things are very connected, and it’s very fun to play around with,” Coutinho said.

After finalizing her entry, Coutinho gave it to Sra Silva to review and submit. “I do owe it all to [my Spanish teachers]. I don’t think I would be able to express myself the way that I do had it not been for their help,” Coutinho said. Her work is on the Albricias website and Sra. Silva is going to receive several copies, so stop by her room 7105 to pick up a copy of the journal.

Maia Fernandez Baigun is a junior at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. Even though this is only her second year on staff, Maia loves working on the newspaper staff. She is also Vice President of Save the Memories. Maia participates in service projects and loves to discover new music and trendy restaurants. She is an avid Billie Eilish fan and, in her free time, enjoys writing and taking pictures of nature. For her, a perfect day consists of sleeping in, avocado toast, and binge-watching Netflix originals.

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