Skip To Main Content

St. Anselm’s Abbey School

A Catholic, Benedictine School for Boys Grades 6 - 12

Academic Excellence

75 years of rigorous, classical education

Modern Languages

Our Modern Language curriculum focuses on listening, speaking, reading, and writing; after 4 years students reach proficiency to understand films in the target language, read books and report on their content, and carry on conversations on most topics.

Department Overview

Our program begins with an introductory level course in Middle School and proceed to more advanced levels of proficiency in Upper School.

Modern Language Association standards for cultural enrichment are emphasized so that students not only learn the language but can understand cultural nuances inherent in the countries that share the language. At each level, students are tested to assure that national achievement criteria are met and in most cases exceeded. Students in Forms V or VI can take the AP Language Exam and obtain either college credit, have the language requirement waved or can proceed to an advanced level course in college.

In Forms II, III, and V and VI we offer Arabic language classes. The focus is on teaching the alphabet and introductory level grammar and vocabulary. In the two year program, students learn to read, write, speak and understand basic Arabic. The level of proficiency attained has been such that students have won State Department Fellowships to study abroad.

Curriculum Sequence

Form A
None; Focus on English Grammar and Composition
Form I
None; Focus on first year of Latin
Form II
Spanish I; French I; or Arabic I
Form III
Spanish II or Transfer Spanish I; French I or II; or Arabic II
Form IV
Spanish III or Transfer Spanish II; French II or III; or Arabic III
Forms V & VI
Spanish IV or AP Spanish; French III, French IV or
AP French; or Arabic IV

Course Descriptions

Modern Languages Faculty
Dr. Larry Joseph, Department Chair
French I, II, and III; AP French
Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literature, Stanford University
M.A., Slavic Languages and Literature, Stanford University
B.A., Slavic Languages and Literature, University of California, Berkeley

Ms. Belen Fernandez de la Pena
M.A., Western Philosophy, University of Madrid

Dr. Charles Downey
French IV
Ph.D., Music History, Catholic University of America
M.A., Music History, Catholic University of America
B.Mus., Piano, Michigan State University

Mr. Abdel Gubartalla
Arabic I, II, III, and IV
B.A., International Relations and French, Hiram College


Ms. Dana Helfenbein
Arabic II, III; Spanish II
B.A., Spanish, Arabic, Middle Eastern/North African Studies, University of Arizona

Mrs. Melissa Montoya
Spanish II, III, & AP Spanish
M.A., Spanish Language and Literature, University of Missouri - Kansas City
B.S. Communications, University San Martin de Porres, Lima, Peru





Br. Matthew Nylund, OSB
Spanish I and II
B.A., History, Fordham University