Saint Viator High School is located more than 4,000 miles from Barcelona in Spain, but their worlds came together last week in an accelerated Spanish 4 Honors Class.

Pre-Associate Kurt Paprocki and his Spanish class talking about the tensions in Catalonia with a native, via Skype.

Pre-Associate Kurt Paprocki teaches the class and every semester he connects his students via Skype with Prof. Xell, who is an art teacher at a secondary school in Sabadell, just outside of Barcelona.

“One of the units we study in class is about the 17 autonomous regions of Spain and their characteristics that distinguish them,” Sr. Paprocki says. “Catalonia is an autonomous region — with Barcelona as its largest city — that has been struggling with Madrid in an independence movement. This has been going on for centuries, but it’s really picked up the past decade or so.”

Pre-Associate Kurt Paprocki

While Sr. Paprocki and his students typically talk about the Catalan language as well as its autonomous culture, last week’s class was more timely.

“Xell was able to explain to our students about her observations of what’s happening right now in Catalonia,” Sr. Paprocki said. “There are street demonstrations, legal battles and strong opinions on each side, and our students were able to get a stronger idea of the situation from a local.”
What impressed Sr. Paprocki the most was that their entire 30-minute conversation was entirely in Spanish.
“Our students prepared questions in advance, and they had the opportunity to ask Xell questions and receive a response in real-time,” he adds. “It can be intimidating to speak one-on-one with someone you haven’t met. But our students accepted the challenge and our conversations went well because of their participation.”
Sr. Paprocki graduated from Saint Viator High School in 2000 and he has taught Spanish there for the last 15 years. After partnering with the Viatorians for so many years, he now is preparing to join them as a lay associate, and is in his second year of the discernment process.