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Students earn Seals of Biliteracy following project presentations at Herkimer BOCES

July 29, 2019

Six students and two teachers pose as students hold their Seal of Biliteracy certificates

Six students earned their Seal of Biliteracy through the New York State Education Department following their world languages capstone project presentations on June 7 at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES. From left: Central Valley Spanish teacher Liza Gonzalez-Brondou; Central Valley students Mikayla Comes and Sydney Thomas; West Canada Valley students Aleeshea Tyson, Nathaniel Marrero, Ryan Soron and Emi Hughes, and West Canada Valley Spanish teacher Leonora Foster. View more photos on Facebook at

HERKIMER – Six students from Central Valley and West Canada Valley recently became the first students to participate in a world languages capstone project presentation at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES and earn their Seals of Biliteracy through the New York State Education Department.

“Along with exemplary marks in ELA and world languages through their four-year, high-school studies, students had to complete a capstone project completed in the world language of their studies,” Herkimer BOCES Coordinator of Instructional Support Services Jon Griffith said. “Herkimer BOCES supported the project – providing a regional network for staff in world languages throughout the year.”

The world languages capstone project presentations took place on June 7 at the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Complex in Herkimer. The students presented their projects to a panel of teachers who are fluent in the language and judged the projects. This was the final step for the students to earn their Seals of Biliteracy.

The following students, who were seniors at the time of the event, received a Seal of Biliteracy:

Central Valley:

  • Mikayla Comes

  • Sydney Thomas

West Canada Valley:

  • Aleeshea Tyson

  • Nathaniel Marrero

  • Ryan Soron

  • Emi Hughes

The Seal of Biliteracy acts as a standalone recognition along with an alternative pathway for students, Griffith said. He also said a special thank you goes to the World Language Collaborative Roundtable for providing professional development and direction with the capstone projects.

For this year, all six students were studying Spanish as their second language. Other languages – such as Russian – are expected to be added as the program expands, Griffith said.

“This is the first year of this event,” Griffith said. “Several other districts will have students completing the projects next year, and it is anticipated to grow over the next few years.”