Roosevelt kids receive Seal of Biliteracy


In a historic first for the Roosevelt School District, 21 Roosevelt High School students were awarded the New York State Seal of Biliteracy, recognizing their multilingual proficiency in English and one or more other languages.

The inaugural Seal of Biliteracy ceremony, held last month, celebrated these scholars’ achievements and highlighted the district’s commitment to fostering bilingual education.

During the ceremony, students delivered speeches in multiple languages, sharing their personal journeys and emphasizing the significance of biliteracy.

“Earning the Seal of Biliteracy is an outstanding accomplishment for our students, and we are so proud of all 21 of them for becoming the first in our history to reach this milestone,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Deborah Wortham.

“This is a win for our school culture and educators as well, underscoring our staff’s dedication to supporting and nurturing empowered and globally ready scholars. Being bilingual truly is a superpower!”

The New York State Seal of Biliteracy not only recognizes students’ linguistic capabilities but also enhances their academic and career prospects in an increasingly interconnected world. This distinction will be a valuable asset for the students as they move forward, symbolizing their multilingual proficiency in a diverse society.

Board of Education First Vice President Charlena Croutch remarked, “The 21 students who earned the Seal of Biliteracy have made history here at Roosevelt and serve as role models whose success stories will inspire future students striving to become multilingual.

“We are so proud of our students for the tenacity, passion, and determination they displayed on their journeys to reach such a tremendous achievement.”

Student Dashka Fonrose, who immigrated from Haiti at 12, shared her inspiring story of overcoming challenges to achieve multilingual proficiency in French and Haitian Creole. She credited her teachers and support system at Roosevelt for encouraging her to embrace her heritage and diversity.

“My goal is to surprise myself and do what I thought only a few months ago was impossible, to understand others and make myself understood,” Fonrose said.

Henri Vazquez also spoke, congratulating his peers for their hard work and dedication. Vazquez and 19 other students were honored for their proficiency in Spanish, alongside Cassayna who was recognized for literacy in Haitian Creole.

The recipients of the Seal of Biliteracy are Hedili Amaya Argueta, Paz Campos Carbello, Erick Canelas, Obed Carbajal, Daniel Castro Iglesias, Brandon Ceballos, Carmen Chica, Marielis Cruz, Marcello Escoto Ulloa, Araceli Gonzalez, Melanie Lazo, Jenifer Martinez, Maria Navarro, Katherine Rivera, Yarlin Rodriguez, Yarmin Rodriguez, Idalia Saenz Lopez, Lara Sanchez Quero, and Henri Vazquez.

This achievement would not have been possible without the dedicated staff at Roosevelt, including Superintendent Dr. Wortham, Roosevelt High School Interim Principal Carleen Henry, Interim Assistant Principal Dr. Maria Vineyard, and Director of ENL/Bilingual Programs and World Languages Xiomara Gonzalez.

Looking ahead, the district aims to expand its biliteracy offerings to include Italian, American Sign Language, and Mandarin, further supporting students in becoming proficient in multiple languages.