Ethical & Global: MHS, OHS students first to earn Missouri Seal of Biliteracy

Ethical & Global: MHS, OHS students first to earn Missouri Seal of Biliteracy
Posted on 07/09/2020
Missouri Seal of Biliteracy15 students from Mehlville High School and Oakville High School are the first group of Mehlville School District students to earn the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy. 

The Missouri Seal of Biliteracy is given by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to students who have demonstrated proficiency in English and at least one other language before high school graduation. Students must build a social-cultural portfolio, attend and participate in cultural events and prove they can speak, read and write fluently in multiple languages.  

Umutoni Sebunyenzi, a graduating senior at MHS, earned the seal by demonstrating proficiency in Kinyarwanda, a language spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her parents were born there and moved to the United States just before she was born.

“My parents always spoke a different language at home, and as I got older, I knew that this language kept me connected to my culture so I wanted to learn it for generations to come,” Sebunyenzi said. 

In addition to celebrating students that have multiple proficient languages, some colleges and universities will allow students to have up to six credit hours allotted to them upon entry to college based on their competency and having the seal on their transcript.

“Being multilingual is a definite asset for students as they move forward into college and the workforce,” said Adam Smith, Executive Director of Student Services. “Part of our Portrait of a Graduate is having Global & Ethical citizens. The Seal of Biliteracy promotes that.” 

Nora Ovchiyan is one of three Mehlville School District students to earn the Distinguished Seal of Biliteracy, an honor given to those who score at the highest levels of proficiency. She received the award for demonstrating proficiency in Russian and English.

“I really want to go into medicine, so I’ll come in contact with a variety of patients with different backgrounds,” Ovchiyan said. “Being able to communicate with a doctor who also speaks the same language as you is important because not everyone who is an immigrant knows English well.” 

Students can learn more about the requirements and benefits of the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy by visiting this website or speaking with their counselor, English language arts teacher or foreign language teacher.

Students earning the Distinguished Seal of Biliteracy 
Aysel Akhmedova - Turkish/English (OHS)
Vasilya Kadymova - Turkish (MHS)
Elianora Ovchiyan - English/Russian (OHS)
Thao Truong - English/Vietnamese (OHS)

Students earning the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy
Shaelyn Frauenhoffer - Spanish (OHS)
Alexa Garcia - Spanish (MHS)*
Leslie Gutierrez - Spanish (MHS)
Norah Kovac - Spanish (OHS)
Elena Lucero - Spanish (MHS)*
Addie Martin - Spanish (MHS)
Abigail Miller - French (MHS)
Jessica Nguyen - Vietnamese (MHS)
Eldina Omerovic - German (MHS)
Umutoni Sebunyenzi - Kinyarwanda (MHS)
Emma Tate - Spanish (OHS)

*Student will be a senior in the 2020-2021 school year.
The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].