Holy Cross Students Win National Video Contest

Klimczak ’13 and Regan ’15 demonstrate the value of learning a new language

Two Holy Cross students won a national video contest sponsored by Vista Higher Learning, a publisher of world language programs for educational institutions. Frances Klimczak ’13 and Matthew Regan ’15 worked with this year’s foreign language assistants (FLAs) and students who have returned from studying abroad to produce a short film that explores the benefits of learning Spanish in today’s world. Their video was chosen as one of six winners from a pool of nearly 200 entries.

Klimczak and Regan say they did not plan to enter the contest — which offered a $500 cash prize to winners — when Bridget Franco, assistant professor of Spanish, brought it to their attention. “We were both nervous about the time commitment at first since we are both very involved on campus,” Klimczak says. “Now, after working with the FLAs and actually winning the competition, I’m so glad we took the leap!” she says.

So is their professor.

“I was very impressed by their initiative and enthusiasm,” Franco says. “I think my students did an excellent job of capturing some of the many ways in which learning Spanish is useful and important for the future, in a creative and humorous way.”

Regan says writing the script, storyboarding, and filming were relatively easy. The real test began when it came time to edit the footage they had collected.

“We had never edited video before, so I’d have to say that was our most daunting challenge,” says Klimczak. “It was certainly hard to make the transitions smooth, as well as cut it down to just one minute.”

Both students say the process helped them gain a greater appreciation for the value of studying foreign languages. “As a first-year Spanish major, this movie was a great way to further my passion for [Spanish],” says Regan. “We hope that people who see our video take away that there is so much merit in learning any second language, not just Spanish. Languages are a roadway into exciting cultures full of life and great people.”

Klimczak, who will be testing her Spanish skills in Peru next semester as a participant in the study abroad semester away program, says learning a new language can help increase our global consciousness. “I think especially as Americans, it can be easy to get comfortable without a larger awareness of the world,” she says. “I did not always plan on going abroad, but after working with the FLAs and speaking to returning students, I knew going abroad for a semester was something I had to do. I hope the video can inspire other students as well.”

Franco believes Klimczak and Regan’s focus on the positive impacts of learning a new language combined with the backgrounds of the film’s cast members was the recipe for success.

“By incorporating students who have studied abroad and Holy Cross' Foreign Language Assistants, Frances and Matthew were able to convey their message using individuals who were not just "acting" the part but who truly believe in the benefits and importance of becoming bilingual and bicultural.

“I had no idea what their competition would be, but if dedication, passion and hard work are any indication of success, I knew they had a very good chance of winning.”

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