The Intercultural Student Experiences is a nonprofit educational organization that provides immersion programs abroad for American teachers and students of world languages. Their mission is to prepare informed global citizens who are proficient in a second language and who are set on the road to cultural competence. The ISE seeks to recognize teachers who are exemplary in providing genuine immersion experiences for their students and the ISE Language Matters Award is given to a high school teacher who has achieved exceptional success in increasing student oral proficiency by using creative methods, exemplary motivation techniques, and authentic immersion experiences outside the classroom. The ISE provides a $250 honorarium and a framed certificate for this awardee.
The 2010 winner of the ISE Language Matters Award is Sean Hill, Farwell High School; Farwell, Michigan.
"Sean excels in every area, but perhaps his greatest passion is exposing students to the target language and culture. Sean teaches at Farwell High School in Farwell, Michigan, a small school in a small town that has a significant population of students that live in poverty—nearly 70% of the students receive free or reduced lunch and 100% of its students receive free breakfast. Nevertheless, Sean has taken these students, many of whom have never traveled more than 100 miles from their village, and has exposed them to another language, to other ways of thinking, to other cultures. He does this through in-class materials and activities as well as through pen-pal projects, teleconferences, and guest speakers. However, his most important contribution to his students are the trips he has organized to Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. This summer he is taking his students to Ecuador. In order to keep travel costs affordable for these students (under $500 per student, per trip) and to involve as many as possible, Sean organizes fund raisers throughout the year and serves as his own travel agent.” Sean has inspired his students and expanded their horizons so that it is not uncommon to find among his graduates students pursuing university degrees in International Business with majors in Spanish.