French teacher Deidre Mayer with Marina Ruzic, Billy Garfinkel and Katy Dara.

Twenty Huntington Grads Notch NYS Seal of Biliteracy

French teacher Deidre Mayer with Marina Ruzic, Billy Garfinkel and Katy Dara.

June 26, 2017

For the first time ever, Huntington High School graduates who speak more than one language were able to earn New York State’s new Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas.

The designation formally attests to the holder’s superior language skills. A Huntington faculty committee consisting of Spanish teachers Lorena Hickey and Jessica Mammone; Italian teacher Natalia Kopshti; Latin teacher Kristin Fortunato and French teacher Deidre Mayer worked closely with students interested in earning the new state biliteracy seal.

“The New York State Seal of Biliteracy recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing in one or more languages, in addition to English,” according to the State Education Department. “The intent of it 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 with 21st century skills; recognize the value of foreign and native language instruction in schools; and affirm the value of diversity in a multilingual society.”

The 20 Huntington Class of 2017 members qualifying for the biliteracy seal include: French: Kathryn Dara, Billy Garfinkel, Marina Ruzic and Alexandra Smith; Italian: Arelis Batista-Pacheco, Ana Luna-Mancia and Tania Ulloa; Latin: Alexandra Haughwout, Anjali Kapur, Jackson Kent, Magenta Lopez, Kelsey Miller and Lauren Sage; Spanish: Evan Aguirre, Manyara Cuadra, Kaidi Lopez, Ingrid Oliva, Camille Stafford, Jacob Strieb and Steve Yeh.

“The honor, given for the first time this spring, tells university admissions officers and future employers that graduates have passed tests demonstrating a high level of proficiency in English and a second language,” said Judy Goris Moroff, the Huntington School District’s director of world languages, dual language and English as a new language. “The Seal of Biliteracy is an honor for students who have worked hard for many years and have attained a high level of proficiency in their second language and have passed rigorous exams and projects to get where they are today. I applaud these seniors and hope they continue on their language journey.”