Seal of Bilteracy awardees pose with their medals.

Team Duval students recognized with Seal of Biliteracy for mastering a new language

May 21, 2024 – From Chinese yo-yoing to Mexican dancing, many skills were on display during the Seal of Biliteracy ceremony where Team Duval students were recognized for mastering a new language.

More than 800 students throughout the district were awarded the Seal of Biliteracy this year. This designation recognizes students who have attained a high level of competency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.

It was a special experience for Noel Etheridge, a senior at Paxon School of Advanced Studies, who just wrapped up more than three years of studying Chinese.

“It was very difficult, but with enough practice and rewriting and re-looking at certain things, I got the hang of it,” said Etheridge. “My teacher was really engaging, and she pushed us.”

She started learning Chinese in middle school and continued taking classes throughout high school. That’s where she says she was introduced to Chinese culture, food, and music.

“Sometimes we’d come to class and do Quizlet lives and cohorts including different Chinese dance games and Kungfu,” Etheridge said. “For the Chinese New Year, we would make our own dumplings and make our own wrapping paper and filling.”

It helped that many lessons were taught in Chinese, said Etheridge. It forced them to learn how to become familiar with both pronunciation and comprehension.

To qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy, students must:

  • Pass four different high school credit courses of the same language with an unweighted average of 3.0 or higher.
  • Receive passing scores on a qualifying test including FSA, SAT, or ACT.
  • Submit a portfolio that is then reviewed by a language company.

Students are awarded a gold or silver medal depending on their test scores.

Paxon senior Janea Williams took home a gold medal for completing the program in Spanish. She says the seal will be a nice addition to her resume.

“It’s a good thing to be able to add because a lot of places can use that,” said Williams. “I was thinking I’d get paid more for being able to speak multiple languages.”

Etheridge agrees with Williams about the impact this will have on their futures.

“I can use that with international business and trading and even manufacturing,” said Etheridge. “I’ve come a lot further than where I was before.”

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