The seventh annual California Seal of Biliteracy Award Program was held May 14 at Eureka High School to recognize and celebrate 182 graduating high school seniors from eleven schools in Humboldt County.
The program began in 2012-13 with 39 students participating and has grown each year following, with this year, being the largest cohort to date.
These students achieved a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in at least two languages, one of which is English.
Students who are certified to have the Seal added to their high school diplomas meet rigorous criteria in both English and at least one other language, including grades, written essays, and comprehensive interviews conducted by HSU Department of World Languages and Cultures professors, high school world language teachers, and community members, among other requirements.
Five students throughout the county received the Seal for proficiency in three languages. In addition, this year we had twelve students receiving a certificate for studying English at our high schools—many of them multi-literate.
This year, Danielle Schunneman and Maurice Alvarado from Eureka High received the first California Seal of Biliteracy in the Yurok language.
The awards program included a welcome by Dr. Chris Hartley, Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools and personal reflections from two Seal recipients: Arcata High School’s trilingual exchange student Marzellina Aurelia Urmersbach (English, German, Polish) and Fortuna High School’s student Casandra Cortés García, who is bilingual (Spanish, English).
The keynote speaker was Taylor Woodruff, who is an HSU student of both French and Spanish originally from the State of Washington. This year he supported school sites and community events by translating and interpreting from English to Spanish and vice-versa.
The Seal of Biliteracy is recognized as a valuable asset for employment, college admission, cultural identity, and personal growth. The program is sponsored by the Humboldt County Office of Education, in partnership with Humboldt State University, College of the Redwoods and in collaboration with each school counselor and language educators.
For more information, please contact HCOE Learning Specialist and coordinator Agustín Amaro, at: (707) 502-4343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.