RED WING -- For Stephanie Amador Villegas, learning to speak two languages came naturally. Learning the third language required more work.
“I was born in Red Wing, but my first language was Spanish, because my parents both speak Spanish in our home,” she said. “My parents put me in activities, and then I went to school, and I learned English.”
She considers herself fluent in both languages, and when she entered Red Wing High School, someone asked her if she was going to take Spanish, because it would be so easy for her. She wasn’t interested.
“I decided I wanted to learn another language, so I took German,” said Amador Villegas who has finished five years of German classes. “I am pretty proud of that. I’m not fluent in it, but I learned a lot from German. I could carry on a basic conversation, slowly, in German.”
Amador Villegas plans to become a nurse and said knowing more than one language will be a benefit to her and her patients.
“It is really cool to know more than one language,” she said. “It is like a power given to you, especially if you go into the medical field. It is a big thing, because people from different languages go to the hospital, and you can help them out.”
Throughout her high school years, Amador Villegas has been a member of Health Occupations Students of America and has been interested in working in the medical field. She has had the opportunity to make presentations and attend competitions with the HOSA club.
“We went to Camp Ripley and stayed for three days,” she said. “They had a schedule, and we could try out new things related to the medical field.”
At Red Wing High School, her favorite class was health class, because it is closest to her plan of working in a medical career. When she graduates, she plans to attend a college or university to earn a degree and become a registered nurse. She hasn’t decided which college, yet, because she is still waiting for acceptance letters.
“I want to get my bachelor’s degree in nursing, but my top goal is to become a nurse anesthesiologist,” Amador Villegas said.
She has already started helping people, according to Robin Pagel, a guidance counselor at RWHS.
“One of the things that really impresses me about Stephanie is her willingness to try new things,” Pagel said. “She was part of a group called Link Crew, which means she had to do two days of training during the summer to become a mentor to eighth graders.”
Several seniors volunteered and became leaders of groups of incoming freshmen. Amador Villegas had to plan and lead a series of meetings with her group throughout the year. No adults attended the meetings.
“We had an open house for the eighth graders,” Amador Villegas said. “We each had a group and showed them around the high school. They got to know us, and if they need anything, they can talk to us about whatever they need.”
Pagel said Amador Villegas is a “quiet young lady who doesn’t really like to draw attention to herself. She is just so wonderful.”
The closing of public schools in Minnesota because of the coronavirus has been difficult for Amador Villegas.
“I wish I could have enjoyed my last year of high school,” she said. “Everything I have worked for has just slowly come to an end. It is difficult to be at home and not be at school having fun with my friends.”