STOCKTON, CA- Eighty San Joaquin County high school seniors were recognized as the first class in the county to receive the “State Seal of Biliteracy Award” in a ceremony held at the San Joaquin Office of Education on Thursday, April 26.
“It is a brand new program in our state. Governor Jerry Brown signed this new law in November of last year,” explained Deputy Superintendent, Gary Dei Rossi. “The State Seal of Biliteracy award was established to recognize high school graduates who attained a high level proficiency in speaking, reading and writing in more than one language other than English.” One of the purposes of the award is to encourage students to study other languages and to affirm the value of diversity in the community.
“As a person that speaks more than one language and hires people that are bilingual, I have seen the benefits of speaking more than one language both personally and professionally, and the fact that you are bilingual means that you will experience these benefits as well,” said Executive Director of El Concilio, Jose Rodriguez.
Middle School students and elementary students were also recognized for their bilingual abilities at the ceremony.
One of them was 8th grader Lilia Frank. “Learning two languages is crucial in our community. Being able to speak both in English and Spanish has definitely helped me to better understand the people around me,” said Frank.
“Those that are monolingual have limitations,” said John M. Solis, Executive Director WorkNet during his speech to the students. “Those that can speak multiple languages unlock the secrets of new experiences and greater opportunities.”
Parents like Miguel Garcia know about the benefits being bilingual will bring to his daughter, Jennifer Garcia, a senior at Western Ranch.
“We always speak Spanish at home. When she started middle school she started taking Spanish classes; I know she had to work twice as much, but receiving this award means that all her work was worth it,” said Garcia after his daughter received the award.
Students will also receive a seal on their transcript and diplomas that certifies that they are bilingual.