North Country high school seniors earn New York State Seal of Biliteracy on diplomas


This story has been corrected to show the correct spelling of student Anah Bogdan’s last name.

NORTH COUNTRY, N.Y. (WWTI) – Nearly two dozen local high school seniors have demonstrated their proficiency in communicating through a second language and have earned the New York State Seal of Biliteracy.

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy 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.

This year, a record number of students participated in the Seal of Biliteracy program through the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES consortium and collaboration with participating local school districts. For the first time, students from St. Lawrence and Oswego Counties participated, joining those in Jefferson and Lewis Counties.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic closing school buildings for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, final presentations by participating students took place virtually May 19 through May 28. Each student’s final presentation took place before a panel of judges made up of local foreign language instructors.

The presentation focused on what the student had learned culturally during the course of the project, all the while communicating in a second language. Students earning the Seal of Biliteracy received a virtual certificate as well as additional items. The Seal of Biliteracy is placed on each student’s high school diploma upon graduation.

The following students earned the Seal of Biliteracy (included with the name of the student is their second language and the name of their presentation):

Carthage Central School

  • Jocelyn Bura, Spanish “Healthcare in Spain” Giavanna Doldo, Spanish, “Crisis of Venezuela”
  • Joshua Steiner, French, “Fishing in France and Canada” Juliet Tavernier, Spanish, “Status of Women in Chile”
  • Larissa Wiltse, French, “Bilingualism and Education in France”
  • Emma Zehr, French, “Laws on Gender and Sexuality in French Speaking Regions”

General Brown Central School

  • Peter Harvill, Spanish, “Latin American Music: It’s Influences, Styles, and Most Popular Artists”

LaFargeville Central School

  • Madison Briggs, French, “The Olympics”
  • Avery Peck, French, “The Differences between the Health Systems in the United States and France”
  • Peyton Sammons, French, “The Evolution of Dance”

Lowville Academy and Central School

  • Gabriella Frappier, Spanish, “Investigations into Women’s Body Image in Columbia and Latin America”

Massena Central School

  • Anah Bogdan, Spanish, “Social Inequality in Chile”
  • Peyton Brown, French, “The Beauty Industry Effect on Self Confidence”
  • Brenna Strickland, Spanish, “Climate Change and the Environment in Costa Rica”

Sandy Creek Central School

  • Riley Dowlearn, Spanish, “Venezuela: A Humanitarian Crisis”

South Jefferson Central School

  • Evelyn Bibbins (two languages) Spanish, “Air Pollution” and French, “Waste Management in the United States and in Switzerland”
  • Andrew Thomas, Spanish, “Islamophobia” Holly Young, French, “Romantic Music”

Watertown City School District

  • Tuyen Huynh, Spanish, “Education Systems in the United States and Spain” Luis Pena Velez, English, “Why People Should Visit Puerto Rico”
  • Angela Rodriquez-Maldonado, English, “Body Image-Shaped by Media?”

The following foreign language instructors provided time within their schedules to volunteer as judges for the final presentations:

  • Joseph Boyle – Massena
  • Deanna Cobb – Belleville Henderson
  • Tina Martin – Carthage
  • Angela Cataldo – Copenhagen
  • Stephanie Karandy – General Brown
  • Teresa Grigg – Belleville Henderson
  • Brianna Jaspersohn – LaFargeville
  • Ann Elyse Foltz – Watertown
  • Francoise Piron – South Jefferson
  • Sarah Hopper – Massena


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