Whittier Tech Students Earn Biliteracy Designation

Javier Infante Rodriguez of Haverhill with his seal of biliteracy. Image: Whittier Tech


— Two Haverhill students who attend Whittier Tech are among four students recognized by school Superintendent Maureen Lynch for earning the Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy distinction in Spanish.

The students are: Jesus Infante Rodriguez, a senior from Haverhill studying marketing education and business technology; Nolan Macario, a senior from Haverhill studying electronics/robotics; Roberto Catuc Coc, a senior from Newbury studying electrical and Julio Diaz, a senior from Groveland studying electronics/robotics.

The seal recognizes students who have achieved proficiency in English and at least one other language by high school graduation. Students were awarded this distinction based on their performance on the Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages test administered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, school officials said.

Students also fulfilled the Carnegie unit credit requirements in English language arts. English Language Coordinator Susannah DiMauro, who serves as the Seal of Biliteracy adviser, helped prepare students for this comprehensive test, which was administered at the end of January.

“Thankfully I got this last-minute opportunity to take the test,” Macario said. “There are more opportunities within the workplace, college and scholarships after earning this distinction.”

The Seal of Biliteracy promotes excellence in the study of world language, respect for human differences by exposing students to other cultures and perspectives, and equity by honoring the diverse literacy skills of those in the community. It also provides evidence of biliteracy skills to future employers and college admissions officers.

“We are particularly proud of these students’ achievements, as they represent the highest number of State Seal recipients since our school began the program three years ago. This award is not easy to attain,” DiMauro said. “Students must have a high level of fluency in a partner language, demonstrating proficiency in all four domains of speaking, listening, reading and writing.”

DiMauro praised her school’s administration for initiating this program and for their support of Whittier’s diverse student body, who she said come with many gifts and talents in a number of different languages and cultures.

Eight heritage languages are represented across 1,261 students at Whittier Tech: Igbo, Swahili, Twi, Portuguese, Spanish, Pashto, Haitian Creole, and various Central American dialects of Spanish.