The East Rockaway Gull

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The East Rockaway Gull

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Making East Rockaway History: The Seal of Biliteracy

Making East Rockaway History: The Seal of Biliteracy

Recently East Rockaway seniors have had the chance to apply for the New York Seal of Biliteracy. This is a high honor, as the seal is only gifted to students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. It is a complex process that involves achieving all NYS Regents diploma requirements along with earning 3 point in both the English criteria and language criteria listed in this chart: (* ). Many students in our school district were able to achieve this high honor, but one stood out, going above and beyond and earning 2 seals: 1 for Italian and 1 for Mandarin. We had the chance to interview Senior class valedictorian Jordan Lu about his experience earning his seals and any advice he has for future students. 

Interview with Jordan:

What is the importance of being bilingual?

“I believe that being bilingual is important because it helps broaden your horizons and provides you with opportunities. Accomplishing this feat means putting in time and effort, being dedicated, and above all embracing culture. For me personally, being bilingual helped me embrace my identity as an American as well as being Chinese. It helped me find balance between the two cultures as home and everywhere outside of home seemed like two different worlds.”

Why did you want to get the Seal of Biliteracy?

“The Seal of Biliteracy was a validation of my language skills. East Rockaway is a small town with the school being even smaller. The amount of opportunities to practice and compare the level of proficiency of different languages is very limited. After getting the Seal of Biliteracy, I understand that my level of proficiency in different languages has surpassed a certain level that I am happy with.”

What was the process like when getting the Seal of Biliteracy?

“The process of getting the seal wasn’t that bad. The worst part in my opinion was finding the right topic for the research paper and finding supporting sources. There were little requirements of what the research paper had to be on, which led to me spending lots of time trying to find a relevant cultural aspect that could be researched while being interesting to me. After getting the topic down, the rest was fairly easy. The presentation wasn’t much, as I just talked about what was written in the paper.”

Were there any challenges that you faced during this process?

“Not really, I just struggled on finding a topic to write about.”

What kind of support did you receive?

“I am extremely grateful for my mother, Mr. Cuttitta, and Mr Gomez. I consulted my mother to proofread my paper to ensure that it was grammatically correct. Mr. Cuttitta provided great assistance to my written paper as well as the presentation aspect and also gave me great recommendations on what I could’ve written the paper on. Mr. Gomez provided great clarity and guidance during the research process for both papers.”

Do you have any advice for future students regarding the Seal of Biliteracy?

“Some advice that I have for students that want the Seal of Biliteracy in the future is to choose a topic that you like and understand that the ERHS world languages department is always here; don’t be afraid to reach out to them and ask for their help.”

The Seal of Biliteracy is a great opportunity for East Rockaway students to take, as it can really help your future, no matter the field of study. We encourage all students to give it a try and reach out to the world languages department with any questions on how to get started. Congratulations to Jordan Lu on this amazing accomplishment and we wish him luck in his bright future!

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About the Contributor
Isabella DeCunzo
Isabella DeCunzo, Co-President
Isabella is a junior at East Rockaway Jr/Sr High School and is so excited to be a Co-President of her favorite club, The Gull. She’s been an avid writer for the gull since the eighth grade and participates in many of East Rockaway’s sports teams like volleyball and softball. Isabella is also very interested in musical theater and loves to participate in the school musical every year. She loves to write about any books she’s currently reading, cool historical events, opinion pieces, T.V. shows, and movies.

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