41 Warwick Valley High School students graduate with New York State Seal of Biliteracy


41 Warwick Valley High School students graduate with New York State Seal of Biliteracy

June 29, 2021
Julia Sirico

Julia Sirico

On Saturday, June 26th, 41 Warwick Valley High School seniors graduated with the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB). The 40 Spanish students and one French student have been recognized for their proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in the target language. The achievement shows that these students have modern-day career skills, understand a world perspective and value communication in a multilingual society.

The District’s program follows the state’s Seal of Biliteracy curriculum standards. For their successful efforts, students receive a medal and a state seal on their diplomas when they graduate.

“Students who meet the requirements of the Seal of Biliteracy have achieved 21st Century skills that will be valuable in college, the workforce, and life,” said Superintendent Dr. David Leach. “I am proud of every one of them. These students have a world view and value the advantages of being multilingual and have worked so hard to make it through this rigorous program.”  

In June, 43 students – 42 Spanish students and one French student – completed the District’s NYSSB project presentation. Most of them were juniors working toward completion of the NYSSB requirements to graduate with the honor in 2022.

As part of the NYSSB project presentation evaluation, students needed to create a written presentation, video and live question and answer session where they talk in the language about their research. Earlier this month, students streamed into and out of a classroom for two days where they were giving the presentation and responding to questions from teachers Meghan Murphy and Kathleen Randall.

Julia Sirico, who will be a senior in September, likes having the ability to help her customers and co-workers in their native language. She also knows having a NYSSB on her diploma will help her with getting into the college of her choice, with working in a better job, and with earning a higher salary. In addition to helping people at work, Julia said there are other advantages to having a Seal of Biliteracy.

“I like the idea of being able to put it on my resume for any job that I apply for,” she said. She is thinking of going into the field of biomedical research technology after college.

“I think overall in life, whether you are taking vacations outside the country or even just going to a different state or in the city, it is important to know more than one language,” she said. “In other countries, most people are bilingual.”

Jack Curless, also a rising senior, said he wanted a Seal of Biliteracy to improve his status in the workforce and receive a higher salary after college. “I felt that if I could get a higher advantage from having a biliteracy seal, it was absolutely worth it. I also like Spanish. It’s cool and it’s fun to know another language.”

Receiving the Seal of Biliteracy is also a tremendous accomplishment, said World Language Department Chairperson and Spanish teacher Carlos Barquero. “This is not a credit for graduation,” he said. “Our students are self-motivated to showcase their biliteracy after five or six years of study in a world language and they recognize the value of being able to communicate in a foreign language.”

“Our program is setting them up to go out into the world and be a global citizen and have the capacity to ‘live’ in the language,” Ms. Murphy said. “I am very proud to know that students are leaving here with the idea of the world that we share, have an appreciation of that world, and have an ability to navigate that world.”

Rising senior Jackie Ludmerer is considering following her mother’s chosen career to become a doctor. She’s heard of the challenges doctors experience when they are trying to tend to a patient only to have to wait for a translator.

“She would say it was so much easier just to know a few words, but if I were to be fluent in the language it would be very helpful to communicate with people who speak Spanish,” she said.

And, she added, she really likes Spanish culture and the language.

“Teachers in the school taught me to love the language and it’s really such a handy thing to have,” she said. “Whatever my future job may be, it is really such a common language it will help me communicate with a lot of people. Plus, I really love to travel to Spanish countries, and it will really help to know the language.”

As for the continuing growth of the biliteracy program, Ms. Randall said, “We want to keep building an understanding and have people know more about the biliteracy program. These kids are starting at nothing in seventh grade and are now able to talk at this level, which is an amazing achievement.”

Mr. Barquero credited the students’ success to the educators in his department.  “Our students’ success is a credit to the hard work of the entire World Language Department. As the department evolves more into proficiency-based learning, we should see more students receiving the Seal of Biliteracy distinction at graduation.”

The list of names of 2021 graduates who received the Seal of Biliteracy on June 26th are:

Biliteracy Seal Recipients – Spanish

Mikayla Beauregard

Julianna Brown

Katerina Bucek

Mary Calandra

Elizabeth Centorrino

Sara Corrigan

Arely Cruz-Tenorio

Luka DelCanto

Kristen Desrats

Kaleigh Egan

Gavin Fryer

Paul Gagliano

Grace Haesche

Gabrielle Hale

Ava Hanley

Reiana Koulikov

Tyler Leote

Thomas Magee

Jessica Malota

Aislinn Mohyla

Charlotte O’Connor

Abigail O’Neill

Justin Orlando

Analisa Perez

Austin Post

Julia Priebke

Nathalia Santana Hidalgo

Tegh Singh

Alexandra Skafidas

Katherine Smith

Kelly Sullivan

Adrianna Thomas

Kristin Thompson

Ethan Tillinghast

Casey Tully

Isabella Valentino

Kristina Vulich

Kevin Walter

Catherine Wegas

Felicia Wishnia

Biliteracy Seal Recipient – French

Julia Mosier


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