A recent dual language program parent meeting with third grade families featured powerful testimony on the program’s many benefits from a group of program alumni.
The district-wide meeting was called to discuss the dual language program’s goals, stages of language acquisition and the New York State Seal of Biliteracy as well as to highlight students who have participated in the program.
District Director of World Languages and Bilingual Programs Judy Goris Moroff and teachers Wendy Bonilla (liaison to Woodhull Intermediate School parents) and Ingrid Moreira (liaison to J. Taylor Finley Middle School parents) collaborated on coordinating the evening.
“Teachers discussed the dual language program at their respective level and the changes students will go through at each stage (intermediate, middle school and high school),” Ms. Goris Moroff said.
Dual language program alums who are currently attending Huntington High School and J. Taylor Finley Middle School showcased their work so parents could see their fluency in the Spanish/English language and overall success in the program.
“Dual language students treated attendees to a fantastic presentation of their work throughout the years,” Ms. Goris Moroff said.
The participating Finley students included Josephine Sullivan, Student Council President Nina Fascilla and Anthony Retmal Vidal. Participating from Huntington High School were Class of 2021 co-valedictorian Grace Wildermuth and Distinguished Senior Tess Stanley.
“I have participated in the dual language program for almost nine years,” Ms. Sullivan said. “It has been an amazing experience for me and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. Because of the program, I am able to fully understand the Spanish language and I have no problem translating things from English to Spanish. Throughout my time in the program I have had many amazing teachers that have taught me things I’ll always remember. For the past two years I’ve had Sra. Moreira, who has taught me so much and has helped me expand my understanding of Spanish by a lot. Overall, I have really enjoyed my time in the dual language program and I can’t wait to see what comes next.”
The program’s participants are a very loyal group. “I have loved being in the dual language program not only because I am now able to confidently speak a second language, but also because I have been able to immerse myself in a diverse environment since a young age,” Ms. Fascilla said. “Being in this uniquely wonderful program has helped me become student government president and has opened up many other great opportunities for me. I have learned to work well with my peers and it challenged me when I needed it most. All of the amazing teachers who work in the dual language program, including Sra. Moreira who I have had for the past two years, have guided me in the right direction.
Students will always remember the years they devoted to studying in the program and they consider it to be time well spent.
“I enjoyed being in the dual language program,” Mr. Retamal Vidal said. “It helped me to meet new teachers that were very kind and supportive of me and all the other students. It encouraged me to stay and learn more Spanish every day. Being in the dual language program helped me to meet new friends that I am very close with now. Overall, the program encouraged me to stay in it and accelerate more each year.”
Even as the seniors prepare to graduate high school and move on to college they remain fond of the dual language program and proud to be alums of it.
“I am so thankful for the dual language program and the opportunity to learn Spanish through immersion,” Ms. Wildermuth said. “I think it has helped me understand native speakers so much and though my grammar isn’t perfect, I am proud to be able to communicate with more people in the community. Taking classes in Spanish was also an excellent challenge in elementary and middle school. The program really pushes younger kids to think harder and adapt to a different style of learning. I have made some of my closest friends in dual language as well.”
To view the student presentations, click on the English or Spanish language links below:
Anthony Retamal Vidal