Forty Huntington High School seniors who speak more than one language are set to earn New York State’s Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas.
The designation formally attests to the holder’s superior language skills. A Huntington faculty committee consisting of teachers Deidre Mayer, Eileen Gonzalez, Itzel Cedillo Rosas, Kristin Fortunato, Teresa Connolly and Lorena Hickey worked closely with students interested in earning the state biliteracy seal.
“The New York State Seal of Biliteracy recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English,” according to the State Education Department. “The intent of it is to encourage the study of languages; identify high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers; provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission; prepare students with 21st century skills; recognize the value of foreign and native language instruction in schools; and affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.”
The 40 Huntington Class of 2020 members qualifying for the biliteracy seal include:
French: Kelly Alfaro-Alvarez, Eunice Bonita-Ramos, Alice Bradford, Moira Contino, Madelyn Kye, Diya Rai-Gersappe, Julien Rentsch
Latin: Zubair Ali, Margaret Lalor, Lily Stein, Isabella Toscano
Spanish: Jeslyn Alfaro-Andrade, Dania Avelar-Romero, Stephanie Bermudez, Sulma Campos Moreno, Brian Contreras, Livia D’Anna, Nayely Estrada-Rodriquez, Erlyn Flores, Martin Garcia, Claudia Gomez Chavez, Abigail Holmes, Peyton Kalb, Lizbeth Loeza Mendoza, Gabriel Medina-Jaudes, Andrea Mejia Saavedra, Johnny Menjivar, Jack Monahan, Chelsea Munoz, Nathan Musso, Angel Nativi Mendez, Aldo Ochoa, Raul Orozco, Leyda Ponce Guzman, Daniela Ramos Campos, Julia Segal, Marissa Stafford, Yaniris Tavarez-Espinal, Nicholas Thompson, Joseph Tonjes
“The Seal of Biliteracy validates so many students’ journeys in learning a new language in Huntington,” said Judy Goris Moroff, the district’s director of world languages, dual language and English as a new language. “Students are recognized for their hard work in becoming biliterate and it also draws attention to the value of student’s home languages and cultures. It is not an easy task to read, speak and write well in two languages and these students have proven through their dedication that it is possible.”
Huntington’s world language teachers took pride in the achievement of their students. The teenagers have worked hard to meet the Seal of Biliteracy’s rigid requirements.
“We had seven students who attained the French Seal of Biliteracy, which is very rigorous,” said Mrs. Mayer, a longtime French teacher. “Students have to write a research paper in the target language on a world topic. They must also make two presentations, once in front of the class and once in front of a committee where the student is questioned and must defend their topic. The student speaks only in the target language and spontaneously. It is quite an accomplishment to attain the seal! I’m so proud of this dedicated group of students.”
The presentation topics chosen by Huntington’s French language students earning the Seal of Biliteracy are indicative of just how exceptional these teenagers are.
- Kelly Alfaro-Alvarez: Suicide in France and the US.
- Eunice Bonita Ramos: Cyberbullying
- Alice Bradford: Civil Disobedience in France and other countries
- Moira Contino: Healthcare in the US and Haiti
- Madelyn Kye: Francophone Africa Divisions of Classes and Languages
- Diya Rai-Gersappe: Artificial Intelligence
- Julien Rentsch: Terrorism in France and Canada