Michael Barrera virtually visits Truman High School class

Bristol Township School District  |  Posted on

Michael Barrera virtually talks to Truman students in Honors Spanish 4.

Michael Barrera of the U.S. Department of State virtually visited Truman High School students in Elizabeth Gregory’s Honors Spanish 4 class on November 6.

Gregory is a Spanish teacher at Truman and as a State Department program alumna, she wrote to the Office of Public Liaison to request a guest speaker. Her students were interested in hearing about policy the U.S. makes with Spanish-speaking countries, which is why her class was matched up with Barrera.

Barrera is the public diplomacy officer for Caribbean and Haitian Affairs. He spoke to students about foreign policy and what his position entails – developing and coordinating public affairs strategies and press objectives for sixteen countries in the Caribbean region. Additionally, Barrera spoke about his time as political-economic officer in Mexico, a consular officer in the Philippines and deputy public affairs officer in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Mr. Barrera shared tons of great stories with the students in my class about the importance of language, diplomacy, and trust building between our country and others,” said Gregory. “I am very grateful to the U.S. Department of State for offering this program to students.”

Barrera discussed international travel with the class and talked more about the Spanish-speaking countries he has visited. He also touched on the career pathways students can take where they will be able to utilize their Spanish skills in the future.

Students prepared questions in advance for the Q&A portion at the end of the presentation and overall, enjoyed Barrera’s visit.
“The presentation put a new, more human definition to the word “diplomacy,” and what it’s like working as part of a team that spans the world,” said junior Cheyenne Stadler. “He was awesome at answering our questions despite them being in the chat box, and good questions lead into another meaningful story.”