South Orangetown Central School District

Four Tappan Zee High School seniors have earned the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB), which recognizes high school graduates who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing one of more languages in addition to English. Congratulations to Juliet Hayes (French and Spanish), Juliana Guarracino (French and Spanish), Tatiana Guzman (Spanish) and William Carroll (Spanish).

“I appreciate that these four students continued to pursue this endeavor via distance learning,” said Assistant Principal Melissa Luciano, who previously taught world languages. “It was not an easy task and I commend Juliana, Juliet, Tatiana and William for their drive and dedication to the study of languages.”

Guzman will be majoring in Culinary Arts Food Business Management at The Culinary Institute of America and plans to open her own Latin American restaurant in homage to her family and culture. “My passion for learning languages grew tremendously throughout the years because of the amazing teachers. For all of middle school, I had Madame Spatz; freshman to junior year, I had Mr. Burgos for French and AP Spanish Lit. My junior year, I also had Madame Root for French. These teachers pushed and inspired me to further my education and love for languages,” she said. “I chose to pursue the Seal of Biliteracy because it represents my proficiency in communicating in both English in Spanish and, as a proud Latin American graduating from Tappan Zee High School, it pays tribute to my family.”

Guarracino is headed to New York University as an International Relations major. “I pursued a Seal of Biliteracy in French and Spanish because it displays the effort I put into studying these two languages throughout my high school career. Having a certificate saying that all my presentations, dialogues, and tests did make me a proficient speaker feels rewarding. I think it will be beneficial in the future as I plan to pursue a career in international relations, as well,” she noted, expressing deep appreciation for her school experience. “Throughout my language-learning journey at SOCSD, my teachers have been so passionate about the language and the culture they teach that it seemed nearly impossible to not develop that same appreciation. They always gave me opportunities to further my learning and prepared me to continue my studies beyond high school. At TZHS, in particular, there were so many opportunities to immerse myself in the cultures that I was studying, such as trips abroad, clubs and multicultural events; I feel those played an integral part in my studies.”

Hayes will attend Villanova University, where she hopes to double major in Finance and Business Analytics with minors in French and Spanish. “I value how wide-encompassing my world language experience at TZHS has been. In both French and Spanish, I have been exposed to so much vocabulary, grammar and culture, which really prepares students to be global citizens. Taking two languages can be difficult at times, but my French and Spanish teachers were always so encouraging and made every effort to make connections between the two languages, which further enriched the language learning experience for me,” she said.

For Hayes, the Seal of Biliteracy as an opportunity to challenge herself and take her passion for French and Spanish to the next level. “World language is a subject that holds so much importance, yet there are not a lot of opportunities for students to showcase what they know. So, I appreciate that New York State and TZHS are recognizing students’ accomplishments in the subject.”

Carroll has committed to the Sam Draper Honors Program at Rockland Community College, where he will study Anthropology.

The NYSSB was developed to encourage language study and identify students with language and biliteracy skills for employers and universities. This is the second year that TZHS has had seniors achieve this prestigious certification.

Biliteracy Seal recipients