Eighty-seven Byram Hills High School seniors have been inducted into the World Language Honor Society, an achievement that reflects their hard work and dedication to the study of French, Italian or Spanish.
In a virtual ceremony Thursday night, World Languages Chairperson Melissa Stahl congratulated the students and encouraged them to continue their language studies. To become a member of the honor society, students must have an A or A+ final average for three consecutive years.
“As language teachers and learners, we are tasked with so much more than just putting together sentences to ask a question in the target language,” she said. “We are entrusted to show students how cultural perspectives create a backbone to a language, how people from different political, racial and religious backgrounds are joined by the commonality of a language, and how accepting and appreciating these concepts can broaden our horizons and understandings of the world.”
“The students being inducted this evening understand these ideals and we hope they continue as lifelong learners to pursue a meaningful relationship with other languages and cultures,” Ms. Stahl added.
Brandon Lutz, a 2010 Byram Hills graduate, delivered the keynote address, lauding the value of learning world languages. Mr. Lutz took AP Spanish at Byram Hills and became fluent in French, Dutch and German at The University of Texas at Austin.
He praised the inductees for this “absolutely amazing achievement.”
“Pursuing foreign language is immensely challenging and reaching this level shows not just grit, but highlights you all as ambassadors of a more globally minded world,” he said, adding: “As seniors, you’re on the cusp of an incredibly exciting time in your lives and I want to advocate that you continue to make foreign languages a part of yours in the future.”
He talked about what studying languages has taught him. He said that learning a world language is “the gift that keeps giving” because learning one Romance language may help you learn another; that studying another language opens up the world, especially during travel; and that the grit and bravery it takes to speak in another language shows you have courage.
“I believe that language speakers are some of the most courageous people in the world,” he said. “The sheer act of getting up every day, knowing you may be misunderstood, knowing that you may have an accent, knowing that you may say the wrong thing and fail, that takes grit.”
“If there’s anything to take away from foreign language, it’s that it builds your
confidence like no other subject can,” Mr. Lutz added. “All of you here have proven that you have the courage needed to succeed in this subject, and I want you to remember this courage transcends the classroom.”
After the address, each inductee’s name was read aloud.
The students inducted for French are:
Nicolas Paslar Bunemar
The students inducted are Italian are:
The students inducted for Spanish are:
Nicolas Paslar Bunemar*
*Second language inductees