Prep Students Achieve Language Award for First Time Ever


Sam Shillcutt, Jay Journal Staff

The Seal of Biliteracy; a prestigious award presented from the state to students who achieve an extremely high level of understanding and communication in two or more languages in their high school careers. It is extremely hard to even achieve candidacy for this award; in the state of Nebraska this year, only 51 students received this commendation from the state, 35 of which were for being proficient in both Spanish and English. 

There are two levels to Seal of Biliteracy awards; the Silver award and the Gold award, in which the Gold award is superior and even harder to achieve than the already difficult to attain Silver award. 

For the first time ever, Prep students have received the award. Five students, all seniors, were recognized by the state for their proficiency in Spanish as non-native speakers and received Gold level Seal of Biliteracy awards this year. That means out of the 35 students to receive the Seal of Biliteracy for Spanish, five of them were from Prep; an impressive showing.

Bryce Frailey, John Burns, Sam Malick, Alex Martinez and Shawn Ramachandran received the prestigious award for the first time in school history this year. Achieving the award was not easy; in order to even qualify for it, a student must score highly in both English and Spanish tests at the college level or beyond. 

The student recipients themselves are ecstatic about getting the award, citing how much that it will help them in the future. The Seal of Biliteracy certainly looks good on a college application, as well. Being certified to be able to speak two languages is nothing but a boon for students looking for scholarships or acceptance into their college of choice. 

“It can increase your possibilities for careers and different interactions with colleges.” Malick said. “It offers great opportunities when talking and interacting with people who speak a different language, which can mean a lot for who we can connect to.”

All five seniors cited their thanks to their Spanish teachers for educating them and helping them be able to achieve this award. 

“Señora [Gwen] Fisher really was a big help,” Burns said. “Before taking her class I was really never challenged taking Spanish. She made us learn through a combination of writing, speaking, and listening constantly, and had us talk to actual native speakers for projects.”

The other seniors also cited  Luigi Catalano, Jerry Kinney, and many other Spanish teachers as the people they wanted to thank on their journey to achieving the Seal of Biliteracy. 

These five seniors winning this award is a momentous occasion; however, teachers and the seniors are doubtful this will be a one time thing.

“Next year’s seniors will win the award again, no doubt,” Burns said. “Prep students are built different.”