St. John Paul II School offers a unique Spanish program of full language immersion in grades PreK–5. Classes meet three times per week with a focus on conversation and vocabulary. These fast-paced, engaging classes are "Spanish only" and students love them.
In middle school (grades 6–8) studetns transition to a combination of Conversational Spanish classes with Mrs. Triay and a high school preparation program focused on Spanish reading, writing, and grammar with Dr. Triay.
Dr. Victor Triay, middle school Spanish teacher, is also a professor at Middlesex Community College and an expert in Cuban history. His parents left Cuba after the rise of Fidel Castro, so the subject is personal to him and has inspired him to devote his time and talents towards researching, writing and lecturing on the topic.
His publications include:
- The Mariel Boat Lift, A Cuban American Journey, (2019) for which he won the Phillip & Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal in the 2019 Florida Book Awards.
- Fleeing Castro: Operation Pedro Pan and the Cuban Children's Program (book), University Press of Florida, September 1998.
- Bay of Pigs: An Oral History of Brigade 250 (book), March 2001, University Press of Florida.
- La Partia Nos Espera (book), Random House, 2002 (Spanish translation of Bay of Pigs).
- The Cuban Revolution: Years of Promise (book), 2005, University Press of Florida.
- The Struggle Begins (The Unbroken Circle series) (book), July 2013.
- "The Lawyer's Story," short story published as part of the anthology, New to North America: Writings by Immigrants, their Children, and Grandchildren, Burning Bush Publications, January, 1998.
- "ABCs (American-born Cuban) in South Florida Suburbia," essay published as part of the anthology, ReMembering Cuba, University of Texas Press; edited by Andrea Herrera, 2001.
Additionally, he has been interviewed for and/or appeared in various magazines, newspapers, documentaries, news programs, television shows, and radio programs on Cuba-related topics, including but not limited to :
- CNN Español (radio)
- CSpan2 (Book TV)
- National Public Radio
- Connecticut Public Radio
Mrs. Emilia Triay, who was also born in Cuba, teaches elementary Spanish immersion classes to all students in PreK-8th grade. Her interactive, creative classes are a highlight for students.