Students Earn the Seal of Biliteracy


Senior Israel Berraza accepts his medal from Señora Janzen at the awarding ceremony on Tuesday, 11th of May.

Riley Keiter, Writer

Many students at Olathe West take international language classes, but those who stick with it for longer than two years have the chance to earn the Seal of Biliteracy. This seal proves that a student can read, write, listen, and speak in two languages. 

There were 11 students this year who received the seal: Kirsten Alvarado, Israel Barraza, Edwin Bustillo, Caché Goracke, Maeve MacNaughton, Allysa Moore, Blake Peterson, Gabriel Romero, Galiea Rodriguez, Ryan Sauter, and Jonathan Villanueva De La Cruz. All were seniors, as a

Senior Ryan Sauter and friends take a fun picture to commemorate their awards.

student has to be a senior to be eligible to earn the seal. These students earned the seal by taking two tests, one to determine how the student is doing in each language.

“To prove I was literate in English, I had to have a certain ACT score… around 21,” senior Ryan Sauter said. “To prove I was efficient in Spanish, I took the STAMP [Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency] test. There’s several others to take, but that’s the one I chose. Most of my classmates took it in class.”

The seal itself doesn’t award scholarships, but it’s good proof of excellence in language.

“If I can prove I’m biliterate it makes me more employable,” Sauter said. “It’s something good to put on your resume.”

Sauter already passed the English ACT test before signing up for the seal, so Spanish was the test he had to prepare for.

Senior Edwin Bustillo stands in line with the other seal winners to take a picture.

“Going into it, I didn’t think I was going to do very good,” Sauter said. “After the fact, I was pretty happy with how I did. It’s a decently tough test.”

However, unlike Sauter, there are many students who took the test with English as their second language.

“I learned Spanish when I was younger,” senior Galiea Rodriguez said. “I was born in Oklahoma, but we left straight away to Mexico. From there, I learned Spanish until I was 5. After that, we moved to Tusla back again and I had to learn English.”

Sauter and Rodriguez, along with the other seniors received the seal. However, there were three juniors and a sophomore who took the test and passed, and they will have to wait until senior year to receive the award.

Even with COVID-19, this year more students signed up for the test than ever before and more passed as well. The teachers who encouraged students to sign up for the seal, Karen Detrixhe and Elizabeth Janzen, hope to have even more next year.