New York State Seal of Biliteracy Logo

Forty-three local high school seniors have showcased their exceptional language skills and earned the prestigious New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB). This commendation acknowledges their high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages. The NYSSB not only encourages language studies but also highlights the significance of multilingualism in today's society.

The NYSSB serves several purposes, including encouraging language learning, providing valuable information to employers about graduates' language abilities in reading, writing, listening and speaking. The NYSSB aides universities in evaluating prospective students, preparing individuals for the demands of the twenty-first century, recognizing the value of language instruction, and celebrating the diversity of our multilingual society.   

In collaboration with the Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES Programs and Professional Development Program, the final presentations by participating students were held from April 18 to 21. Each student delivered their presentation entirely in their second language before a panel of judges comprising foreign language instructors, community members, and accomplished professionals. These presentations focused on the students' cultural learning experiences during the course of their language studies and included impromptu discussions with the judges.

As a testament to their achievement, students who earned the Seal of Biliteracy were presented with a virtual certificate and a medallion to be worn during their high school graduation ceremony. Additionally, a Seal of Biliteracy will be affixed to each student's high school diploma upon graduation, further recognizing their exceptional linguistic accomplishments.

The dedication and commitment demonstrated by these students in attaining proficiency in a second language exemplify their readiness to navigate a globalized world. By embracing multilingualism, they have equipped themselves with essential skills that will open doors to diverse career opportunities and foster cross-cultural understanding.

Congratulations to the following students for earning the Seal of Biliteracy: 

Adirondack Central School - Teacher: Lillian Gazitanno-Carro

Braeden Pridgeon (French)

Belleville Henderson Central School - Teacher: Deanna Cobb

Neva Bettinger (Spanish)

Carthage Central School - Teachers: Stacey Barlow and Sonja Williams

Kiara Austin (French)

Alejandra Hernandez-Rosa (Spanish)

Dylan Kolk (Spanish)

Hannah Makuch (Spanish)

Arianna Rivera (Spanish)

Isaac Sova (Spanish)

Copenhagen Central School - Teacher: Elvira Cortes

Alyssa Fitzpatrick (Spanish)

General Brown Central School - Teacher: Stephanie Newvine

Olivia Eves (Spanish)

Jalynn Castro (Spanish)

Emma Hughes (Spanish)

Emma Romano (Spanish)

Ashlee Ward (Spanish)

Immaculate Heart Central School District - Teacher: Patricia Minter-Powell

Keely Cooney (French)

Indian River Central School - Teacher: Amy Baker

Genesis Matias-Torbio (French)

Madallyn Moore (French)

Kayleigh Porkarski (French)

Lowville Academy and Central School  - Teacher: Elisabeth Lorentzsen

Noah Comet (Spanish)

Anna Exford (Spanish)

Lyme Central School - Teacher: Julianne Oliver

Natalia Osokalo (Ukrainian)

South Jefferson Central School - Teachers, Joy Cumming and Chelsey Zuber

Audrey Bibbins (Spanish, & French, earning Seal of Triliteracy)

Lauren Bier (Spanish)

Kyle Creighton (French)

Chace Summers (French)

Breya Tamblin (French)

Logan Towles (Spanish)

Thousand Islands - Teachers: Melinda Bechaz, Mary Ann Reff

Franchesca Cartaya (Spanish)

Marena Grenier (Spanish)

Laci Kenyon (French)

Watertown City School District - Teachers: Mackenzie Dickenson, Ann Elyse Foltz, and Eliza Pierce,

Fanata Amidou (English)

Morgan Brady (Spanish)

Kyan Combs (Spanish)

Lillyane Day (Spanish)

Amber Eldridge (French)

Zachary Kilburn (Spanish)

James Monaco (Spanish)

Camryn Pastor (Spanish)

Melaina Sanchez (Spanish)

Vega Schenk (French)

Adelaide Weir (Spanish)

Ike Woolcott (Spanish)

Special thanks and appreciation to teachers from the aforementioned school districts for their invaluable guidance and support provided to each of the students throughout their language learning journey. Recognizing the significance of mentorship, each student was assigned a dedicated mentor who provided assistance and guidance during the creation of their projects and presentations, ensuring their success.

 The final presentations, which were a crucial component of the evaluation process, were made possible thanks to the generous contribution of time and expertise from foreign language instructors and community members who volunteered as judges. Their commitment to this initiative underscores their belief in the importance of fostering language proficiency and cultural understanding. The following individuals graciously served as judges for the final presentations: Melinda Bechaz, Sharon Carr, Deanna Cobb, Joy Cumming, Ann Elyse Foltz, Tierra Glover, Devan Grant, Rachel Johnson, Kathleen Kratzat, Elisabeth Lorentzsen, Tina Martin, Patricia Minter-Powell, Francoise Piron, Olga Rudka, Angela Wildt, and Sheri Wolf. Their involvement ensured a fair and comprehensive assessment of each student's linguistic competence and cultural awareness.

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy is made possible through the collaboration of Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES and the State Seal of Biliteracy Consortium. The Consortium represents a partnership between the Programs and Professional Development Department at BOCES, the New York State Education Department Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages, the Mid-State RBERN (Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network), Regional Seal of Biliteracy Committee Members, and World Language educators from the aforementioned school districts. Together, these organizations work tirelessly to promote language education and provide students with the opportunity to attain the Seal of Biliteracy, opening doors to future success and embracing the value of multilingualism.

The dedication and collective effort of teachers, mentors, judges, and educational organizations involved in the New York State Seal of Biliteracy program exemplify their commitment to nurturing students' language skills and cultural competence. Through their collaborative efforts, they continue to foster an environment that values diversity, promotes language education, and prepares students to thrive in our interconnected world.