One-hundred and ninety-eight high-achieving students of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin and Spanish were honored on the evening of March 22 at at the seventh annual induction ceremony of the World Language Honor Society.
In introducing the inductees, World Language Department Supervisor Brad Commerford told the audience that the honorees were being acknowledged for their outstanding academic achievement in language study over the past three or four years—all having received an “A” average at the third- or fourth-year level of study. Seventy-five were “returning inductees,” as the privilege of membership must be earned anew each year.
The evening’s guest speaker was Amanda Seewald, author and director of a new learning program for pre-school and elementary school children, MARACAS Spanish Program for Young Learners. She is also active in engaging parents in advocacy in their children’s educational experience. She has been meeting with legislators to discuss the need for early and comprehensive language education.
Seewald, who speaks Spanish, French and Japanese, serves on the executive board for the Foreign Language Educators of NJ and was recently elected to the board of directors as the New Jersey State representative for the National Network for Early Language Learning.
Students to be inducted were led, in turn, in taking the oath in the language they were studying by a fellow student. They pledged understanding, friendship and accord among the peoples of the world. Through the oath they promised to diligently study the language and use it as a means of communicating with persons in their own countries and with those of other origins, races and religions, and to promote amity and accord among all peoples. Each language group was represented by the flag of the country whose language they are studying.
Eighteen inductees into the Chinese Honor Society were led by flag bearers Diana Liao and Ross Bernhout, and by Kenneth Zang, who led the Oath of the Chinese Honor Society. Among the group, seven were second-time honorees.
Thirty students, of whom 11 were second-time honorees, were named to the French Honor Society. They were led in the oath by Matthew DesGachons. The flag-bearer was Michael Clemente.
The German Honor Society received five inductees, of whom three were second-timers. Alexanda Mazzarisi was the flag bearer; Daniel Rietze administered the oath.
The Italian Honor Society accepted 25 members, of whom 13 were second-time recipients; Michelle Costa was the flag bearer and Michael Briski read the oath.
The Latin Honor Society named six inductees, of whom one was a second-timer. Sarah Battaglia read the oath.
The Spanish Honor Society received 114 members, of whom 40 were named a second time. Melanie Munoz administered the oath and Nicole Simoes served as flag-bearer.
Three students were inducted into two world language honor societies: Junior Elana Borinsky (Chinese, Spanish); Owen Whitley (Latin, Spanish); Anneka Sachechter (French and Spanish).
Language teachers who took part in the induction were Mali Ou (Chinese), Claude Chapel (German), Patti Grunther (Italian), Noah Stanzione (Latin), Daniel Root and Megan Wagner, Spanish.
Many students also fulfill the language honor societies’ ideals of understanding and valuing other cultures and peoples when they take part in the various student exchanges between Watchung Hills and selected partnership schools abroad. During the current school year, student groups will have been guests of families in Spain, Italy, France and Austria. In previous years, student, groups have also visited China.
Except for China, , and students for a brief time in the school. It’s an idea that works: students use their language skills in an authentic setting and help to “promote amity and accord” in different parts of the world.