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Translating learning into competitions

By Reagan Liu and Norah Shen Dec. 9, 2020

Senior Renga Rengappa, Sophomore Ilinca Flacau and Junior Ruby Grimes with their medals. // Slide 1: Courtesy of Renga Rengappa. Slide 2: Courtesy of Ilinca Flacau. Slide 3: Wendy Lee Photo


At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, students taking Spanish and French competed in national exams testing their language proficiency. This marks the first year in the school’s history that all students of the Foreign Language Department took the examinations.


Every year, the National Spanish Examinations are conducted by 4,000 teachers for students from grades six to 12 studying Spanish as a second language. The test comes in different degrees of difficulty, based on the students’ course level at school and whether the student is bilingual. The test contains 50 questions, ranging from multiple-choice, true-false and fill-in-the-blank questions. Students were ultimately tested on their listening, reading comprehension, listening and grammar skills.


“The exam was challenging, but it gave me an idea of what the vocabulary and grammar in the Advanced Placement Spanish test would look like, so I am glad I took the National Spanish Exam,” Junior Riddhi Kulkarni said.


Additionally, the test helps students stand out from others and gives them the confidence to make new friends and understand the diverse community that we live in...

According to Heidi Pimentel, Foreign Language Department, 146 students from all the Spanish classes took the examination this year for the first time. However, because of the sudden school closure in March, students had less time to study than expected before the exam in early April. Despite this, students were able to practice with archived tests and material from previous years and many won gold, silver and bronze medals.


“I was excited to have our Spanish students take the test as they work very hard and recognition for their diligent work is good for them to see. Additionally, the test helps students stand out from others and gives them the confidence to make new friends and understand the diverse community that we live in,” Pimentel said.


This year, there were 225 students who took Le Grand Concours in late April, with students of Mireille McNabb, Foreign Language Department, earning two platinum, 21 gold, 16 silver and 27 bronze medals.

On the other hand, French students at the school have taken the National French exam, also known as Le Grand Concours, for over 15 years. Similar to the National Spanish Examinations, Le Grand Concours splits contestants by level of study, but students from grade one to 12 can sign up. To prepare, they took Grand Concours exams from previous years both in-person and online starting in late February. This year, there were 225 students who took Le Grand Concours in late April, with students of Mireille McNabb, Foreign Language Department, earning two platinum, 21 gold, 16 silver and 27 bronze medals.


Sophomore Ilinca Flacau has taken the exam three times already, earning a perfect score last year. She says that she hopes to carry the momentum into this year’s Advanced Placement French test.


“I love French and have always been a fairly competitive person, so this was a great opportunity to practice my skills in a national competition,” Flacau said.


The Foreign Language Department will most likely be participating in these exams again next year, allowing this year’s examinees to take the test again and gauge how much they learned in one year. The excellent test results are testaments to the effort students put in and provides the recognition and awards they deserve.

 

About the Contributors

Reagan Liu

Staff Writer


Reagan Liu is a sophomore at Leland High school and a staff writer at the Leland Charger Account. He loves music and listens to many different genres of music in his free time. He never skips a meal and consumes all the nutrients needed to stay healthy.







Norah Shen

Staff Writer


Norah Shen is a freshman at Leland High School and is a new staff writer. She likes to read, listen to music, and relentlessly tease her younger sister.

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