By Jensen Pak
The National Language Honors Society and foreign language teachers honored 139 students in an assembly on Tuesday, May 22. High school students studying Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish were inducted into the society for “consistent achievement and stellar performance in a language,” Foreign Language Department Head Paul Chenier said. In addition to these honor students, one senior in each language was commended for their educational progress.
Chenier opened the assembly, introducing the foreign language teachers and explaining that students who have completed a language to level four or higher would be awarded. Chenier compared the honored sophomores to the “Young Turks” of the early twentieth century who “went above and beyond.” He likened the juniors to the Greek titan Atlas, as they “bear the weight of our stellar [foreign language] program, always enduring.” Finally, the seniors were paralleled to “elder statesmen, powerful and wise, who we thank for their time in the program.”
Each language department had an opening statement before calling the students studying that language in alphabetical order. Chinese teacher Qinru Zhou began his speech for the National Chinese Honors awards, and Chinese teacher Binbin Wei helped finish his statement. The French students, prompted by French teacher Marilyn Shield, rose and read an oath promising to uphold the study of French culture and language. Latin teacher Derek Wilairat addressed the Latin honors students, saying, “you have given literature new life.” The Spanish students also rose and read a statement, completing their induction.
Zhou awarded Gus Woythaler ’12 the senior Chinese award, describing him as “not only a young man with passion, but truly self-motivated.” Jessica Barzilay ’12, who “proved it is possible to be an engaged and conscientious student to the very end,” was given the senior French honor. Natalie Epstein ’12 received the senior Latin award from Chenier, who believed that she “certainly honored the tradition of the Latin program.” The senior Spanish honor was given to Richard Chung ’12, who has “proven to be a distinguished student of language and literature.”
The assembly was concluded with Spanish teacher Javier Zaragoza announcing the Foreign Outlook magazine, and all the honored students faced the applauding audience.
“These students have shown a strong dedication to their subject,” Chenier said. “They should be proud of this achievement.”