Onteora High Students Receive New York State Seal of Biliteracy – Daily Freeman

Twelve Onteora High School graduates will graduate in June with a prestigious and well-deserved mark of honor: the New York State Seal of Biliteracy.

The students who have obtained the seal are Christian Amarilla Barrios (Spanish); Amira Chefridi (French); Bernice DeLaura (French); Joey
Driscoll (Spanish); Sophie Frank (Spanish); Sophia Grinberg (French); Ava Maki (Spanish); Scarlette Ragues (French); Jackson Scanlon (Spanish); Sydnee Schilling (Spanish); Shane Stackpole (French); and Isabelle Vandamme (French).

“The seal recognizes advanced achievement in English as well as another world language, with students expected to earn points in both languages ​​through AP (Advanced Placement) and Regent coursework and exams, as well as a final presentation on a year of research in a global language other than English,” Valerie Stewart, Onteora’s Global Language Manager, said in a press release.

This is the fifth year that the school district has encouraged students to seek out this seal, which will be affixed to their diplomas and
transcripts. Students will also wear a Seal of Biliteracy medallion around their neck during graduation. Post-pandemic, while presentations have been taking place virtually for the past two years, this year marked the return of in-person presentations to the school’s Biliteracy Seal Committee.

At the end of their presentations, the students answered questions from the committee, made up of members of Onteora’s World Languages ​​Department (Christi Nelsen-Epstein, Annie Gallin, Rebecca Joslin and Valerie Stewart), school counselors Sam Smith and Sarah Turck, teachers Teaching assistant Chantal Kwarteng, English teacher Bridget Allison and English as a new language teachers Emma Katz and Robin Osswald.

Barrios chose to conduct his research on Pablo Escobar, the notorious leader of the Medellín drug cartel. “I didn’t want to do anything mainstream,” he said in the statement. Barrios, whose parents were born in Paraguay, speaks Spanish at home. Participating in the Seal of Biliteracy program was not only fun, he said, “it was also a way to be recognized as officially biliterate.” He plans to continue his Spanish studies at SUNY Ulster, where he will begin his college career.

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