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Six JHS Students Achieve Seal Of Biliteracy

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. – Six Jamestown High School students graduated last week having demonstrated a high level of proficiency in more than one language. 

Graduating seniors Dainys Cruz, Hermione Santiago Cruz, Kris Cruz, Hugo Mundo-Jonsson, Kelianet Torres-Marrero, and Lucas Torres Carvella were awarded the New York State Seal of Biliteracy during JHS’s Commencement exercises on Thursday, June 20 at Chautauqua Institution. Students pursuing the seal have been advised by faculty members Norma DeJoy, a JPS curriculum coach and former JHS English teacher, Korrin Mundo and Dr. Faith Graham, English as a New Language teachers, and Luz Logan, a foreign language teacher, at JHS. 

“This is the second year Luz Logan, Korrin Mundo, Dr. Graham, and I have had the pleasure to work with these talented students to earn this impressive graduation distinction,” said DeJoy. “The Seal of Biliteracy attests to academic excellence demonstrated in two languages and affirms the value of diversity and multiliteracy in today's world. We are so proud of them, and they are deservedly so proud of themselves." 

The NYSSB recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in English and one or more world languages, according to the New York State Education Department. The intent of the NYSSB is to encourage the study of languages, to identify high school graduates with language and biliteracy skills for employers, to provide universities with additional information about applicants seeking admission and placement, to prepare students with twenty-first century skills, to recognize the value of language instruction, and to affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.

“The completion of the NYS Seal of Biliteracy marks the culmination of a tremendous amount of work and dedication demonstrated by this phenomenal group of students,” said Allyson Smith, JHS Principal. “We are so proud of Dainys, Hermione, Kris, Hugo, Kelianet, and Lucas, and look forward to the incredible things each will do in the future.” 

Achieving the seal requires completing coursework in English and/or a world language with an average of 85% or better; completing a Home Language Arts Program with an average of 85% or better; earning a set score on an approved assessment in English and/or a world language; demonstrating successful completion of coursework from a nation outside the U.S.; and completing and presenting a culminating project in English and/or a world language that demonstrates the required level of  proficiency in all three modes of communication (Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational).

“We are all very proud of the accomplishments of these students, who demonstrated their skill in two languages, while undertaking additional requirements to earn this distinction,” said Dr. Kevin Whitaker, JPS Superintendent. “I commend their effort as well as that of the staff members involved in supporting them.”

Madeline DeJoy, a 2023 JHS graduate, became the first student in school history to receive the seal last June.