5 high school seniors earn biliteracy seal

From left to right; Morgan Ortega, Hannah Finley, Madelyn Wischerath, Mikalya Foltz, and Islam Kemelov

WATERTOWN, NY — Five local high school seniors have shown their proficiency in communicating in a second language and have earned the New York State Seal of Biliteracy following a program held May, 16, 2018 at Jefferson-Lewis BOCES.

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB) recognizes high school graduates who have attained and can demonstrate a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages. The intent of the NYSSB 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 for twenty-first century skills; recognize the value of foreign and native language instruction in schools; and affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.

Earning the NYS Seal of Biliteracy in 2018 were Hannah Finley (Spanish) and Morgan Ortega (French) of the Watertown City School District, as well as Mikalya Foltz (French), Islam Kemelov (English) and Madelyn Wischerath (French) of the South Jefferson Central School District.

All five have been working throughout the school year to meet the requirements set forth in a Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Consortium developed program prior to final presentations in the second language before a panel of five judges on May 16. Each student was assigned a mentor and also worked closely with their World Language teachers within their home district.

Those students who earned the NYS Seal of Biliteracy will have it placed on their high school diploma and also earned a medal and a sash that will be worn during their district graduation ceremony.

The NYS Seal of Biliteracy is offered by the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES State Seal of Biliteracy Consortium. The consortium is a partnership between Jefferson- Lewis BOCES, the New York State Education Department Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages and the Mid-State RBERN (Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network) as well as representatives from participating districts including Watertown City School District, South Jefferson Central School District, Belleville Henderson Central School District and Copenhagen Central School District.