The Volunteer State of Biliteracy

The Volunteer State of Biliteracy

On April 15th, seven students from our very own Lenoir City High School received the Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy. These senior students are Yareli Cintora, Richy Huichapa, Kimberly Juarez Saucedo, Diya Patel, Rebecca Saravia-Leon, Janet Cano-Saucedo, and Sam McQuilken. The effort and commitment these students have made to their academic success is acknowledged with the Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy. Being bilingual is something to be proud of, and is a skill that many wish they had. Knowing more than one language benefits people to succeed in the future whether they go on with their studies or profession. 

In order to apply to receive the Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy, students must use a Google Form. Their GPA, EOC, ACT, and other test results are used to ensure they have satisfied the English proficiency standards. After that, students must pass four tests in speaking, writing, reading, and listening in a world language in order to receive a certain score. Students enrolled in active ESL programs are also eligible, although they must pass exams in both English and a World Language.

Yareli Cintora (12), one of these seven students, was motivated to earn her Volunteer State of Biliteracy due to the workforce she plans on going into. After high school, Cintora plans on attending TCAT and studying surgical technology. After surgical technology, Cintora then plans on taking that knowledge to help her train others who are in need of a translator. 

“With [the Volunteer State of Biliteracy], I have many opportunities and with my two languages that I know it’s more simple to get a job after high school if I don’t go to college. But if I do go to college, I think I will have more opportunities,” Cintora said.

In order to receive the Volunteer State of Biliteracy, you must pass a series of 4 tests. With each test lasting about 45 minutes, it’s important to study and prepare as much as you can before the exam. Richy Huichapa (12), shares the testing skills and strategies that brought him to his success.

“To prepare/study for the Biliteracy test, I took their free online tests. This helped me understand how the test was structured and what kind of questions they would ask,” Huichapa said.

Kimberly Juarez Saucedo (12), decided to work towards earning her Volunteer State of Biliteracy to acknowledge her skill in being bilingual as well to benefit her community. Saucedo plans on using this accolade to help encourage hispanic people to receive proper dental care.

“My motivation to work towards earning the Volunteer State Seal of Biliteracy was simply to gain recognition of my ability to speak and write in two different languages. I believe it is a great way to show my language skills to colleges and employers. It also celebrates cultural diversity and encourages multilingualism in the community…I aspire to become a dental hygienist, and with my biliteracy seal, help encourage the hispanic community to get access to dental care,” Saucedo said.

Considering that only 20% of the United States is bilingual (via American University), receiving such an award while only being in high school definitely deserves a round of applause. Congratulations to all seven students who received the Volunteer State of Biliteracy this year!

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