The first five graduates to receive a master of arts in teaching Spanish from Northern Arizona University are ready to toss their caps in the celebratory air during commencement this Friday.

Kirsten McCartyChris WargoJonathan DettmanClaudia Serrano and Patricia Swartzendruber will not only celebrate their own success, but the success of their program—the only Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish program in Arizona.

Started in 2004, the goal of the program has been “to develop second language Spanish teachers at the secondary level,” said Cecilia Ojeda, graduate coordinator and associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages.

“As graduate teaching assistants, the students taught introductory Spanish classes while concurrently taking courses in linguistics, pedagogy and literature,” Ojeda said. “Their successful teaching experience at NAU attests to their hard work and enthusiasm as well as the quality of the program.”

Dettman will join the Latin American Literatures and Cultures Ph.D. program at the University of California. McCarty will continue teaching Spanish online at NAU. Serrano plans to become a graduate student pursing a degree in bilingual/multicultural education. Wargo and Swartzendruber will continue teaching high school Spanish.

For information about the program, e-mail Cecilia.Ojeda@nau.edu.