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Clarence High School Students Celebrate Receiving Seal of Biliteracy

Clarence High School Students Celebrate Receiving Seal of Biliteracy
Updated

Soon-to-be-graduates of Clarence High School were congratulated for broadening their outlook of the world as they received the New York State Seal of Biliteracy

A total of 71 students were recognized with the honor, continuing a tradition of high numbers of students receiving the award in the Clarence Central School District. A total of 85 students from the high school received the recognition last year, and 64 students the year before that.

“We have a great program, and we’re really proud of it,” said Latin teacher Michael DelSignore. He noted that last year, fewer than 700 students achieved the honor across the eight counties of western New York, showing the school’s strength in developing language learners.

The students, joined by members of the high school and Clarence Middle School’s language faculty for a reception at the high school’s library on June 6, received medals acknowledging the award, as well as tassels they will wear during graduation. 

“Studying world languages expands our perspective and understanding of another culture, and by doing so, we also better understand our own culture and its place in the world,” he said. 

Though a majority of students achieved the award through Spanish, French and Latin studies at the high school, a pair of students, David Carlsson and Jessica Pachka, received the accreditation through independent study of Swedish and Russian, respectively.

David first began learning English after coming into the district from Karlstad, Sweden when he was 11 years old, then later added French, a language in which he also received the seal.

“It’s an accomplishment to know multiple languages,” he said. “Many people can’t tell that English is my second language.”

Finding someone to evaluate David’s Swedish language skills was a months-long process, said Kate Celej, a teacher on special assignment serving as K-12 Program and Professional Development Coordinator for the district. After reaching out to multiple organizations in the Buffalo area, she was finally connected with a Clarence resident with Swedish language skills to help review David’s progress.

“It says a lot about the community’s interest in supporting our student’s learning,” Celej said.

More information about the language offerings at Clarence High School can be found at https://www.clarenceschools.org/schools/clarence-high-school/guidance-counseling/schedulingcourses/world-languages.

Language faculty in the Clarence Central School District pose for a photo with the 71 students who will graduate Clarence High School with a New York State Seal of Biliteracy. The students were celebrated during a reception on June 6, 2024.
Clarence High School students pose for a photo with Spanish teacher William O’Donnell during a reception honoring students receiving the New York State Seal of Biliteracy on June 6, 2024.
Clarence High School senior David Carlsson accepts a Seal of Biliteracy in French and Swedish during a ceremony for students on June 6, 2024 at the high school’s library.
Latin teacher Michael DelSignore speaks to students receiving the New York State Seal of Biliteracy during a reception in their honor on June 6, 2024.