CHELMSFORD, MA (Apr. 15, 2021) – Youssef Soliman, Giovana Vieira and Tarmo Tari were among nine Chelmsford High School seniors who earned the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Seal of Biliteracy, the CHS World Languages Department announced Tuesday.
The Seal of Biliteracy is an award provided by state-approved school districts that recognizes high school graduates who attain high-functioning and academic levels of proficiency in English and a world language – through reading, writing, listening and speaking – by graduation. Students who received a score of six in all four categories earned the Seal of Biliteracy, while students who scored a seven or higher received the Seal with Distinction.
Of the nine seniors, Ms. Vieira (Portuguese) and Mr. Tari (Estonian) earned the Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction while Mr. Soliman earned the Seal in both Arabic and French.
Additionally, eight CHS seniors received the Language Opportunity Coalition Biliteracy Achievement Award, presented to those students who scored a five in the four categories, while 10 seniors received the LOC Biliteracy Attainment Award for earning a score of four in each of the categories.
“We are thrilled that so many seniors are taking advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate and be recognized for their multilingual skills,” said Jessica Nollet, Coordinator of World Languages at Chelmsford Public Schools. “There are over 60 different home languages spoken by families and students in the Chelmsford Public Schools, and taking an exam to qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy is a wonderful way for these students to be celebrated.”
All 27 CHS seniors who took the exam earned honors.
“The ability to communicate in a world language is an incredibly valuable skill in many fields and career paths for students,” Ms. Nollet added. “Colleges and universities are starting to award college credit for students who earn the Seal of Biliteracy.”
Also achieving the Seal of Biliteracy were seniors Kaili Lamb (Spanish), Cassandra Larkin (Spanish) and Nicolle Reyes (Spanish) along with Diya Panchal (Hindi) and Anirudh Singh (Hindi).
Seniors Sachi Joshi and Parnika Koppana were each dual award recipients. In addition to earning the Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish, Ms. Joshi earned the LOC Biliteracy Achievement Award in Hindi while Ms. Koppana earned the LOC Achievement Award in French and the LOC Biliteracy Attainment Award in Telugu, an Indian dialect.
Ms. Vieira, whose parents Wilson and Samanta emigrated from Brazil, was brought up speaking Portuguese, thus found the Seal of Biliteracy exam rather easy. She has also studied Spanish since seventh grade and values the benefits and possibilities language learning presents.
“My family travels a lot, so it’s nice to be able to speak a common language,” she said. “It also looks very good on a college application, and it’s going to help me get a job in the future. It is such an advantage in life overall.”
Mr. Soliman grew up in Alexandria, Egypt before his family emigrated to the U.S. in 2017. Arabic was the household language, and he learned French during pre-school and elementary school. “After I came to the U.S., I really appreciated the languages I speak,” he said. “I just like the idea of speaking with someone else directly, and knowing the language helps to know the culture.”
CHS’s 27 seniors covered eight languages: Spanish, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Telugu, Mandarin, Arabic and Estonian.
2021 Massachusetts DESE Seal of Biliteracy Recipients
Seal of Biliteracy, Language
- Tarmo Tari, Estonian (With Distinction)
- Giovana Vieira, Portuguese (With Distinction)
- Youssef Soliman, French, Arabic
- Sachi Joshi, Spanish
- Kaili Lamb, Spanish
- Cassandra Larkin, Spanish
- Diya Panchal, Hindi
- Nicolle Reyes, Spanish
- Anirudh Singh, Hindi
Language Opportunity Coalition Biliteracy Achievement Award
- Sachi Joshi, Spanish
- Parnika Koppana, French
- Serena Pan, Mandarin
- Sana Patel, Spanish
- Ethan Meltzer, French
- Michael Schwamb, French
- Leticia Toledo, Portuguese
- Jenna Ward, French
Language Opportunity Coalition Biliteracy Attainment Award
- Jillian Brennan-Barbeau, French
- Julia Elizabeth Bates, French
- Shreyas Chaturvedula, Telugu
- Ameer Haidar, French
- Alexander Harvey, Spanish
- Amelia Carol-Ann Hughes, French
- Andrew Kochnar, French
- Parnika Koppana, Telugu
- Aaliyah Scott, Spanish
- Gabriel Stafford, French
About Chelmsford Public Schools
The Chelmsford Public School District provides all students with multiple pathways to optimize their own potential for academic excellence, leadership, and social and emotional wellness. The mission of the Chelmsford Public Schools is to educate, engage, prepare, and empower well-rounded and knowledgeable learners to PERSEVERE through challenges, demonstrate RESPECT and INTEGRITY in their words and actions, are DEDICATED to their community, and display EMPATHY as global citizens while discovering and pursuing their full potential. This PRIDE-driven culture enables all members of the school community to support the growth and development of students. For more information, please visit www.chelmsford.k12.ma.us.