May 14, 2014Last week I received a letter from the Valley Center District office.
It congratulated me for being one of the students who will be receiving the Biliteracy Seal on my High School Diploma at graduation.
This seal distinguishes those few students who followed through until high school with the stellar bilingual program that VCPUSD has to offer.
Colleges are always looking for students with diverse backgrounds, and being one of the few to have the Seal of Biliteracy strengthened my college application showing evidence of both strong academic success and my ability to speak a second language.
But knowing a second language helps more than in just applying for colleges.
In high school, I was able to participate in the first year of the San Diego UT Young Latino Journalism Scholars Program as an Intern.
My second language also helped me snag an internship at Latino Print Network where I work as an Entertainment Editorial Intern and was given the opportunity to publish a book. And it didn't stop there.
My book is now an Award Winning Book for the 16th Annual International Latino Book Awards (the largest awards in the USA celebrating achievements in Latino literature) and I have been participating in a multi-city book tour.
These jobs beyond the classroom challenged me to use the skills from being immersed in a bilingual classroom. I strongly believe that the fact that I can speak, read, and write English and Spanish fluently has opened many doors along the way.
Valley Center Pauma Unified School district is one of the few districts in North County that offer a research based dual language immersion program. And it's program, turning 31 years old, grants students knowledge in another culture and appreciation for multiculturalism.
Having this seal on my diploma was not easy, let me tell you.
This seal only embodies the nine years I spent being educated on accepting other people's cultures, learning tolerance, and more importantly, it created pride for my first language and cultura.
It means that, upon entering high school, I was able to enroll in a Spanish III class and move on to an AP Spanish class and the test by my Sophomore year.
Are all these requirements to receive a Biliteracy Seal on one's diploma?
No, not completely.
This is the path that I and other students took because we wanted to be well-rounded and accepting of others for their culture.
With this program, I was raised not to doubt the power of language. To understand that knowing two languages means that you are valued as two people and for that, I am so proud to graduate not only as a Jaguar, but as a Jaguar that was a product of such an incredible bilingual program.