Students voice opinions on whether learning a foreign language is worth it or not

March 16, 2022


Lillian Roberts

All smiles Sophomore Madelaine Arnold works on a Spanish assignment. “I enjoy taking Spanish; it’s really fun. The teacher is nice.” Arnold said.

The foreign language department is a section in the A-building consisting of teachers Megan Russler, Veronica Skomra, Jamie Bergstein, Patricia Leonard, Dane Leone, Sandra Mitchell and Mark Petrarcha. The language classes offered are French, Spanish and German. Students such as sophomores Madelaine Arnold, Mackenzie Musser and Maxxine Butterbaugh have mixed feelings on the value of learning a foreign language. 

“I chose French [with Skomra] because it’s such a beautiful language to learn.  It is also a very fun class with different types of activities and experiences,” Musser said. 

“I decided on the German [with Mitchell] language because my ancestors are from Germany, and my great great grandfather was from Germany, our last name evolved from Puterbach, a German last name. I found it the most interesting from a historical and background standpoint,” Butterbaugh said.

Leonard feels as though learning a language is necessary. 

Learning a new language opens many opportunities in the job market, travel and lifelong learning. Learning a second or a third language in high school is crucial to communicate in this ever-shrinking world. Learning a new language will give you an advantage when applying for jobs in any area such as the medical field, social workers, government jobs, military, agriculture, law, the court system, etc. Additionally, being able to communicate in a different language is a rewarding personal experience,” Leonard said. 

Students take two to three years of a language in order to get the credits for college. According to, an average college student will need two years of a language. Ivy league college students need three to four years of a language. 

Arnold, who took Spanish with Leonard, thinks taking a language is worth it. On the contrary, Butterbaugh would rather wait. 

“Learning a second language is useful because you can have a conversation with others if you go to another country. Yes [I think it is worth it] because then you can then major in college if you really want to in college and don’t have to worry about it later,” Arnold said. 

“I mean, if you pay attention and it’s beneficial to you, then yes; but that’s why I’m waiting until senior year to take another year of a language course,” Butterbaugh said. 

Meanwhile, Leonard loves teaching Spanish.

“From my perspective, I truly enjoy teaching about my language and culture. It is very rewarding for me to see students learn and grow in their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture,” Leonard said. 

Arnold believes that the basic languages are already offered and is content with the choices given. 

“I think the basic languages are already offered and many opportunities are given to us while still being easy to learn,” Arnold said. 

Musser and Butterbaugh wish to learn other languages like Italian, Korean, and Japanese. 

According to, Spanish, French and German are the top three most common languages for schools to offer. Adding other languages would open issues like having space in the building for a new class, too many students wishing to join the new class and finding a teacher.  Some students believe that teaching at a young age would be helpful to understanding English more and some think it is too early to teach younger children a language. 

“I feel like it shouldn’t be mandatory for younger ages because learning a language is very hard even for high school students, so I feel like younger students couldn’t understand it as well based on the language it is,” Musser said. 

With the help of Leonard, students like Arnold enjoyed learning a language. 

“I don’t think it should be mandatory, but I definitely do recommend it. It is really fun and just a great experience. I would like to move to another country where my language is spoken because then I can see how they communicate and live their life,” Arnold said. 

Not all students are guaranteed to like a language. Leonard enjoys teaching Spanish and helping students grow. 

I believe it is essential for students to know that there is a purpose for learning Spanish. It is important to implement a variety of activities in the classroom to engage the students and help them learn. Additionally, at times the content needs to be modified to meet the needs of all learning styles. Finally, I feel it is important to keep the lines of communication open with students and parents to help students succeed in the class,” Leonard said.

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