Language students honored

Kriste An

The World Languages Department inducted 166 students into the World Languages Honors Society for their successes in Chinese, French, Latin and Spanish on May 17. The induction was the department’s first ceremony in three years because of COVID-19, and it was accompanied by a series of performances, including a skit, dance and choral performance.

Four seniors were awarded for their achievements in their respective languages. Kevin Kwak ’22 was honored for his studies in Chinese, Paisley Kandler ’22 in French, Avery Konwiser ’22 in Latin and Leila Pagel ’22 in Spanish. Kandler said she was honored to receive the award because of her love for the French language.

“I was ecstatic,” Kandler said. “The francophone world means a lot to me, although I am not ethnically French. French lessons were a big part of my childhood [similar to how] violin, gymnastics, soccer, theater and other extracurriculars [were for] other students at [the school]. It was wonderful to round off my high school experience with an acknowledgment of the time I spent studying and immersing myself in the language.”

Kwak said he appreciated being able to attend the event in person to receive an award recognizing his accomplishments in Chinese.

“I was extremely surprised when I was called to receive the award, as I was not expecting it,” Kwak said. “Nonetheless, I am proud to accept it. The induction itself was an enjoyable experience. Being there in person alongside the friends and teachers that have supported me throughout high school was exciting and rewarding. It was a satisfying way to commemorate the many years I spent studying Chinese.”

Spanish student Helena Wu ’23 attended the assembly and said she was proud of her peers’ achievements.

“I am extremely excited for the students who won awards on the behalf of their class,” Wu said. “I know that they spend countless hours perfecting their language, learning it and understanding it.”

Wu said she enjoyed the ceremony and its festivities.

“I loved being able to experience [the assembly] with my friends,” Wu said. “The skits and musical performances that were on display were very entertaining as well.”

World Languages Department Head Derek Wilairat said he hopes students enjoyed attending the assembly and took the time to reflect back on the particular significance of each of their individual journeys through the World Languages Department.

“The assembly is a time-honored tradition in our department, and it was nice to run it [in person] this year,” Wilairat said. “The assembly recognizes students in reaching [advanced] levels of their studies. We hope students felt pride [in] being honored, enjoyed the performances and were able to reflect on what their language has meant to them.”