South Orangetown Central School District

Congratulations to Tappan Zee High School seniors Rachel Alexandre and Caitlyn Kopac on earning the New York State Seal of Biliteracy (NYSSB)! The NYSSB recognizes high school graduates who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing one or more languages in addition to English. Both earned the recognition for French.

Alexandre will be attending Stony Brook University Honors College in the fall and said that learning a second language is an “overall passion” which has given her a more global perspective. “It opens up different opportunities,” she reflected. “A few friends and I went to an immersive language camp three years ago with people from all over the world. One of the friends we made, Denise, lives in Paris, and we have kept in touch–sometimes our conversations are in English and sometimes they’re in French!”

Kopac plans to major in elementary education at North Carolina State University. She points to a 203-day Duolingo streak as evidence of her enthusiasm for French. “You can study any subject and learn the language as you do it. We’ve learned about history, architecture and global issues…I’ve learned so much about the English language by taking French,” noted Kopac.

Both students expressed appreciation for their French teachers and referenced the friendships and sense of community among students who have pursued language study throughout high school.

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

Rachel Alexandre and Caitlyn Kopac