J. Taylor Finley Middle School students never shirk from an academic challenge, even when it comes from the difficulties posed from a second or even third language.
Over 40 Finley seventh and eighth graders took the national French and Italian exams this past spring and their teacher, Dr. Gina Marie Trigian-Molvaut was excited as she reviewed the results.
Alexander Bellissino earned honors in the national Italian exam contest.
This marked the only the second year that both exams were given in a digital format. The students all took the exam on their Chromebooks during a specially scheduled double period on the same date(s) as the other students in the nation.
Finley’s participation in the national exam remains high as seven seventh graders and 16 eighth graders sat for Le Grand Concours (the name given to the national French exam) and 18 eighth graders took the national Italian exam. The national exams offer students an opportunity to expand their language skills in a broader context.
Finley’s 41 national exam participants included:
Le Grand Concours: Seventh grade
Sarah Berry, Emma Brendel, Cassidy Casabone, Molly Fallon, Greg Goldstein, Jocelyn Kai, Charlotte Soljanich.
Le Grand Concours: Eighth grade
Keziah Baker, Katie Bonilla, Mia Brown, Jessica Erhardt, Joeniell Feliciano-Lopez, Lauren Gooding, Grace Gray, Emma Guba, Rebecca Hoffmann, John Holly, Grace Kenny, Catherine McCooey, Gemma Pellegrini, Thomas Rosselli, Miles Tierney, Ashley Visser.
National Italian Exam: Eighth grade
Isabella Algieri, Joshua Bailin, Alexander Bellissimo, Sarah Biernacki, Nate Coulter, Nathaniel Deegan, Isabella DiBenedetto, Alex Fascilla, Angelica Hernandez, Jhosselyn Hernandez-Gomez, Riley Lomler, Carlos Martinez, Lily O’Heir, Dinian Salazar-Gudiel, Andrew Spina, Emma Vaughan, Gemma Pellegrini, Jorge Cisneros.
“I am very proud of all the participants for their success in the French and Italian national exam competitions and I strongly appreciate their efforts to maintain the tradition of excellence of our school district,” Dr. Trigian-Molvaut said. “It is my hope that they all continue to excel in world languages and earn their state Seal of Biliteracy.”
Gemma Pellegrini captured national honors in both French and Italian.
Le Grand Concours is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French. More than 85,000 students from all 50 states and many foreign countries participated in the exam, which is a premier event for those in grades 1-12 who are studying French.
Gemma Pellegrini emerged as Finley’s multilingual all-star after capturing county and national rankings on both the French and Italian national exams. The eighth grader ranked fifth in Suffolk and seventh in the nation on the French exam. It’s the second straight year she has earned national honors. She also ranked seventh in the nation on the Italian exam, “which she took at Level 3 in Division C for native speakers,” Dr. Trigian-Molvaut said.
Highlights for Finley’s other Le Grand Concours participants include:
• Charlotte Soljanich ranked ninth among all test-takers in Suffolk.
• Cassidy Casabona and Molly Fallon both received honorable mention recognition.
• Grace Kenny ranked third in Suffolk and fourth in the nation. It marked the second consecutive year the teenager has earned national honors.
• Thomas Rosselli ranked seventh in Suffolk and ninth nationally.
• Rebecca Hoffmann and Mia Brown ranked ninth and tenth, respectively, in the Suffolk chapter.
• Katie Bonilla, Jessica Erhardt, Joeniell Feliciano-Lopez, Lauren Gooding, John Holly, Catherine McCooey and Ashley Visser all won honorable mention recognition.
Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Italian, the national Italian exam drew participation from 5,200 students from 20 states and Puerto Rico.
Highlights for Finley’s other national Italian exam participants include:
• Alexander Bellissimo (15th), Isabella DiBenedetto (16th) Lily O’Heir and Isabella Algieri (21st) all placed nationally and earned honorable mention recognition.
Depending on which exam they sat for, the Finley students received either a Certificat de Mérite or a Certificato di Partecipazione. Those ranked in the top ten were invited to attend the AATF-Suffolk chapter awards ceremony at Half Hollow Hills High School East. Dr. Molvaut joined in the fun at the awards gathering.