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Lemont students perform well on national language exams in Spanish, French


Stephanie Valle is the youngest student in school history to earn National Spanish Exams "Premio de Oro" honors in Spanish IV, having done so as a sophomore last spring.

Several Lemont High School students put forth standout efforts while participating in national language exams in French and Spanish last spring. Three students – Class of 2017 graduates Mira Antonopoulos, Claudia Jazowski and Natasha Joseph – joined a select club by earning their fourth National Spanish Exam medals, while current junior Stephanie Valle and former student Jorge Garcia-Arcicollar each earned top honors on their exams.

National Spanish Exams
Students earn National Spanish Exam medalist accolades by scoring in the 75th percentile or better on their respective exams. Students who score at or above the 95th percentile are awarded the “Premio de Oro” (Gold Award); students who score between the 85th-94th percentiles on their exams earn the “Premio de Plata” (Silver Award); and students who score between the 75th-84th percentiles on their respective exams receive a “Premio de Bronce” (Bronze Award).

Lemont had nine students earn NSE medalist accolades in 2017, with Valle and Garcia-Arcicollar earning “Premio de Oro” honors in Spanish IV. They join Jacob Gasienica ‘16 as the only Lemont students to earn “Premio de Oro” citations in Spanish IV. Accomplishing the feat as a sophomore, Valle is the youngest Lemont student to achieve “Premio de Oro” honors on the Spanish IV exam.

“Premio de Plata” winners included Joseph in Spanish IV and current senior Lauren Pengiel in Spanish III.

“Premio de Bronce” honorees included Antonopoulos, Jazowski, Matas Maleiska ‘17 and Maria Valle ‘17 in Spanish IV, and current senior Laura Hunter in Spanish III.

Antonopoulos, Jazowski and Joseph join Katie Atherton ‘15 and Kristen Malloy ‘16 as the only Lemont students to earn four NSE medals. Antonopoulos, Jazowski and Joseph all totaled three “Premio de Plata” honors and one “Premio de Bronce” award in their careers.

Lemont has now seen 12 students combine for 14 “Premio de Oro” honors since it began participating in the National Spanish Examinations in 2011: Atherton (Spanish II, 2013), Misbah Chagpar ‘16 (Spanish II, 2014; Spanish III, 2015), Garcia-Arcicollar (Spanish IV, 2017), Gasienica (Spanish III, 2015; Spanish IV, 2016), Malloy (Spanish III, 2015), current senior Andrew Gonzalez (Spanish I, 2015), Dennis Healy ‘16 (Spanish III, 2015), Daisy Medina ‘15 (Spanish II, 2013), Julissa Nuñez ‘16 (Spanish III, 2015), Kyra Udziela ‘15 (Spanish 1, 2014), Stephanie Valle (Spanish IV, 2017) and Victoria Zajec ‘13 (Spanish II, 2011).

The National Spanish Examinations are administered annually in grades 6-12 and sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. The National Spanish Examinations are the most widely used tests of Spanish in the United States. The exams recognize achievement in the study of the Spanish language; promote proficiency in interpretive communication in the Spanish language; assess national standards as they pertain to learning Spanish; and stimulate further interest in the teaching and learning of Spanish.

Le Grand Concours
Lemont saw two students earn national medals for their performances on Le Grand Concours, an annual competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). The students posted scores that ranked among the nation’s top quarter of participants.

Current senior Kara Kirkus was the school’s top finisher, earning a silver medal from the AATF for her effort in French III. Silver medalists score among the 85th or 90th percentile of all competitors in their respective divisions.

Current senior Reece Graham received a bronze medal for his effort on the French III exam. Bronze medalists rank among the 75th or 80th percentile among all competitors.

Students from all 50 states and abroad take part in Le Grand Concours, which evaluates students on their written, oral and listening skills. Students earn prizes based on their scores.

For more information contact Director of School & Community Relations Tony Hamilton at (630) 243-3280.

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