Class of 2019: First Class to Graduate Students with Seal of Biliteracy


At Holyoke High School, the class of 2019 has been given the opportunity to take an exam that tests your skills on how fluent you are in a second language of your choice. Massachusetts was one of eight other states that were in the early stages of being able to take this exam.

The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school district or state that recognizes students with the ability to speak, write, listen, and read another language other than English fluently. During the test, students are asked to write paragraphs, speak into a microphone, listen closely, and read attentively. Now, the test is only conducted in 21 states including Massachusetts. With migration happening more often, it is essential to learn a new language to communicate better with others.

This STAMP test not only tests students’ skills on their comprehension of a language, but it also helps guide teachers to observe the data and see where students are struggling even when knowing the language. Teachers can also create lesson plans to help students achieve the ultimate goal of success in a specific area. As of right now, the Holyoke district has dual language in their elementary schools. This benefits them by teaching them how to communicate in other languages with others. It can also help with their future endeavors like getting a job or getting a scholarship for college.

Having the Seal of Biliteracy truly means a lot, because employers can see that the graduate is bilingual and can have a stable conversation with a whole other community. For companies, it benefits them the most because they can get more people to buy their products or come to their stores knowing that there’s no language barrier.

The elementary students learning two languages can have the opportunity to take the STAMP test in 11th or 12th grades. It’s better to start a new language sooner rather than later for opportunities such as this one. “I only wish I had this available to me when I attended high school. As a school administrator, the data from this testing will be used to look at areas of struggle in language for students,” says Mrs. Gonzalez, Holyoke High School Assistant Principal and Coordinator for Seal of Biliteracy.

The class of 2019 is the first graduating class of Holyoke High School to participate in the STAMP test. This is very exciting as it will give the class of 2019 an extra step into their future. Some students felt as though it was a new opportunity that really interested them. “I took the STAMP test in Spanish, and I love the idea of being recognized for knowing Spanish fluently. It’s not easy learning a new language, so to be awarded for it is astounding!” said Leonidas Acosta Almonte ’19.

The STAMP test isn’t only associated with Spanish, students can take it in any second language that they are fluent in, including American Sign Language. This STAMP test is a great opportunity for anyone that knows a second language. Younger students should take full advantage of this chance to show off their second language.

Class of 2019 Seal of Biliteracy Graduates:
Leonidas Acosta Almonte
Mariangely Aldarondo
Ruth Arzuaga Rodriguez
Katelynn Cruz
Khyarah Gaston Feliciano
Mia Hernandez
Karina Lopez Perez
Nashali Pagan
Thayra Quinones Martinez
Dylan Rios
Cristal Sepulveda