Opening doors: Local students recognized for bilingualism

HESPERIA — More than 300 High Desert students were recognized Wednesday night for taking an important step in their education, earning the California State Seal of Biliteracy.

The ceremony, hosted by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, honored students who are projected to graduate this school year and have attained a high level of proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English, as defined by the California Department of Education.

County Superintendent Ted Alejandre addressed the hundreds of students and well-wishers, praising the cognitive, interpersonal, educational and career benefits of bilingualism. Quoting Frank Smith in the event program, Alejandre told the students: “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”

Each student came to the stage to receive a certificate as well as a medallion they can wear with their cap and gown at graduation. Many received the award for their proficiency in Spanish, but some were recognized for their literacy in Korean, Chinese or American Sign Language.

Students from six districts (Apple Valley Unified, Barstow Unified, Hesperia Unified, Oro Grande, Silver Valley Unified and Victor Valley Union High) were greeted by Alejandre and their respective district superintendents.  

The Victor Valley Union High School District had the largest contingent of honorees with nearly 140 — with more than 50 of them attending the event to receive their medallions from VVUHSD Superintendent Carl Coles.  

“It was an honor to meet these students and recognize them for their accomplishments,” Coles said. “As students enter a global economy that often demands a diverse skill set, biliteracy is an attribute that will serve them well as they follow their passions and live their purpose.”


TOP: San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre poses for a photo with a State Seal of Biliteracy honoree at Oak Hills High School on Wednesday. 

BOTTOM: Victor Valley Union High School District Superintendent Carl Coles shakes the hand of a State Seal of Biliteracy honoree at Oak Hills High School on Wednesday.