September 2009 Newsletter


A Back to School Welcome


We would like to welcome back our returning members and extend a special welcome to new ones.  We look forward to meeting you. As of September 4 we have 155 people registered, which is ahead of last year’s numbers at this same time. We hope to have about 200 members to fill our classes and meet budget expectations, so keep spreading the word.  Classes begin on Friday, September 25th. We’re looking forward to a great new year with several new teachers, expanded space to handle newly added classes and, of course, great spirit.


If you can volunteer to help out on the first day of classes, contact Carmen (phone and email below). Tell her what time you are available to help and we’ll give you an assignment later (simple things like staffing the welcome table and directing people to classes). We can use helpers at a variety of times (and can schedule you around your class).  Carmen also welcomes helpers for the Orientation Party for things like set up and clean up (see party details below).


Issue with registration confirmations: If you have received a garbled or symbol-filled registration confirmation after you registered online, we apologize. We’ve just learned that people with updated versions of Outlook are not seeing our (usually pretty nice) registration confirmation forms. We’re trying to program around this in the future.


Orientation Party and Textbook Sale


Our annual Enrollment and Orientation Party is scheduled for September 11th at Second Presbyterian Church at 55th and Brookside Boulevard. Enrollment is from 2 to 4 p.m.  Our teachers will be there to answer questions, provide placement advice and get to know you.   Even if you’re already enrolled, come for some social time, and visit the Calvin Center where some of the smaller classes will be held.


Members: Please bring a savory or sweet snack to share (finger food is best) and international treats are especially appreciated.  We will provide drinks.


If you have used La Causerie textbooks or other books related to our three languages that you would like to sell, you can bring them to the party where we’ll have a table set up for book sales. Put your name on a sticky note with the amount you want for your book(s). The seller gets the full price of these books.


Note: Our new Spanish teacher Maria Tapia-Belsito will be in Europe on September 11 and won’t be able to attend. She is contacting her students by email and phone to get acquainted before classes begin.


Changes to our Italian Program


Until recently, several proposed enhancements to our Italian program have been “in progress” as we searched for another Italian teacher. All is in place now, with the hiring of Kathryn Davis to teach Italian III Conversation. What follows is an attempt to explain these changes to our Italian students, particularly those deciding which conversation class they should take. If you have any questions about which Italian conversation level would benefit you the most, come to the Orientation Party on Friday, September 11 from 2 to 4 PM and talk with the Italian instructors. If you have already enrolled one class, it’s easy to change to the other if you want. This can be done at the Orientation Party, by sending an email to Dalene Bradford or just come to the class you prefer.

Meet our New Italian Teacher

Kathryn Davis will join the La Causerie team to teach our newly reinstated Italian III conversation class.  Kathryn first fell in love with Italian as a vocal performance major in college.  Later she put this Italian to work as a missionary for 18 months in the northern cities of Italy (with all work being done in Italian).  Upon her return, she completed a BMA with an emphasis in opera as well as minors in Italian and philosophy.  Having been recently transplanted to Kansas City, she is now teaching others all the things she loves, including Italian, voice and music.  Also, she   tutors private students of all ages, operates a music studio and has worked with young people directing musical theatre. She and her husband, a computer programmer, enjoy foreign language as one of their common links.  On Sundays you’ll find her teaching an adult Sunday school class at their church.

Level III Italian Conversation (New)

The instructor is Kathryn Davis and Italian III Conversation meets from 10 to 11 AM.  It is designed for intermediate students who need guidance in speaking and listening to Italian in a supportive environment. Special attention will be paid to enabling students construct their thoughts into Italian sentences using already familiar vocabulary, understanding and translating Italian, as well as improving pronunciation. We will also build vocabulary in practical areas such as travel, describing likes and dislikes and everyday activities, using some reading materials of intermediate level to facilitate discussion. English will be spoken to clarify points and translate as necessary. If students are already at level III (sometimes IV) in grammar, but need more conversational help, this is the class for them.

Level IV Italian Conversation

Level IV Italian Conversation continues to be taught by Gabi Chitwood and will meet from 10 to 11 AM. This class will be taught entirely in Italian and students should have moved past Level III Conversation and Grammar or its equivalent that is be able to understand and speak close to fluency. While there may be some homework, the course is mainly oriented toward spontaneous and impromptu conversation.

If you have any questions about which Italian conversation level would benefit you the most, come to the Orientation Party on Friday, September 11 from 2 to 4 PM and talk with the Italian instructors.



Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.  Note to past members: only one textbook has changed this year and that is for French IV Grammar.


Textbooks used for each class can be found by clicking on the “Books” tab at the top of the website homepage. Be sure to double-check the ISBN number to make sure you’re ordering the correct edition.  Some are optional reference books (you can easily tell the difference).



Spanish Film Festival


The XVIII Latin  American Cinema Festival of Kansas City, presented by  Sociedad Hidalgo will take place every Saturday morning from September 5 through October 3 at the RIO Theater, 7204 W. 80th Street, Overland Park, KS. (Phone: 913 383-8500) Doors will open at 10:30 AM and program stars at 11 AM. The admission cost is $6.00 per person.   Passes to the five films will be available at the theater for $25.00 on the first day of the festival.


The films have English subtitles and there is a discussion after each film moderated by a professor from one of the nearby universities (University of Kansas, Washburn University, Johnson County Community College and University of Missouri Kansas City).  Questions can be asked and comments made in English or Spanish.


Sept. 5:     "El Regalo" (The Gift) made in Chile in 2008. Type: romantic comedy

Sept. 12:   "Arráncame la Vid" (Tear This Heart Out) made in Mexico and Spain

                   Type: drama combining love story politics and corruption

Sept.19:    "Lo Mejor de Mi" (The Best of Me) made in Spain in 2007. Drama

Sept. 26:    "La Cámara Oscur"a (Camera Obscura) made in Argentina in 2008.

Type: love story

Oct. 3:      "Cuando Rompen las Olas" (When the Waves Break) made in Columbia

                   Type: mystery adventure


For more complete information about the films including running time, director, main actors, and names of moderators contact Sociedad Hidalgo at


August 2009 - May 2010 Calendar


September 11          Enrollment Party and orientation for 2009-2010

September 25          CLASSES BEGIN and continue every Friday AM except:

November 27           No class (Thanksgiving holiday)

December 25           No class (Christmas holiday)

January 1                No class (New Years Day)

March 19                 No class (Spring Break)

May 7                     Last day of classes


Executive Board Members 2009-2010





Dalene Bradford

1st Vice President

(Membership Chair)

Judith Walter

2nd Vice President

(Social Chair)

Jeff Piehler



Carol Cowden



Judy Pearlstein

Assistant Secretary


Nancy Abdou


Inez Pennington

Assistant Treasurer

(Textbook Chair)

Joan Daniels

Assistant to the Board

Carmen Quintero


Note: Email addresses and phone numbers are omitted from our website at . Please refer to the e-news or Livret when these are needed.