Senior to Señor

100 Seniors receive the seal of bi-literacy

North Runk, Writer

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On March 17th, 2017, 100 seniors received the New Jersey Seal of Biliteracy during the first annual World Language Showcase. This event, organized by Allen L., Mrs. Oak, Mr. Gichan, and Sr. Saks, was a huge success, with a large turn-out of students, staff and other community members. It was hosted by all five of Central’s World Language Honor Societies: Spanish, Chinese, Latin, German and French. Throughout the showcase, each of the honor societies had set up booths in which they offered cuisine of different nations, spoke the appropriate language, and also gave background on the different cultures of each respective nation. According to a senior, “The showcase was well-prepared and really informative about the culture that each language possesses.” This is an important testament to how much each of these World Language students work. In addition to the study of a language, students in these honor societies work to spread awareness on different cultures.

During the showcase, the 100 seniors that were awarded the Seal of Biliteracy were invited to receive a certificate from Central’s World Language Department Supervisor. The seal itself is awarded to students who achieve a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more foreign language. Only two seniors achieved this honor in more than one foreign language, as Maria Etcharren and Ignacio Videla received the seal for both Spanish and French. Etcharren, Co-President of the French Honor Society and a native Spanish speaker, is already a master of three languages and is looking to possibly take on a fourth. She was very passionate about the event, saying, “Languages and cultures are vital in becoming global citizens. Events like this one bring a small taste of this to our community; it is important that we keep exploring the world out there. This is just the beginning!”

As of January this year, New Jersey became the 15th state to include the Seal of Biliteracy as legislature. According to the legislature, “The purpose of the State Seal is to certify attainment of biliteracy… to prepare students with 21st-century skills and to strengthen intergroup relationships, affirm the value of diversity, and honor the multiple cultures and languages of a community.” The fact that Hunterdon Central had so many upperclassmen pass the test is a crowning achievement for the World Language Department. “The Seal of Biliteracy is an indication of a level of mastery of another language that we haven’t had before,” said World Language Department Supervisor Laura Arredondo. “It’s the first year that New Jersey is awarding graduating seniors with this special honor, so we’re really proud of our students and their achievements.”

The remainder of the showcase included different acts and other forms of entertainment that were put on by members.  The Chinese Honor Society put on a ribbon and sword dance, both the German and Spanish Honor Societies performed music acts, the French Honor Society read poems that were written by students and the Latin Honor Society performed the assassination of Caesar. Aidan Cook, President of the Latin Honor Society, explained, “The showcase conveyed such details, not only to the outside community but also to Central’s other foreign language programs, which was nice to see because each language frequently finds itself working independently from the others. I feel this year’s showcase was a great stepping stone to organizing future events that can further unite the World Language honors societies at Hunterdon Central for a communal good.”

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Senior to Señor