World Languages Department Mission Statement
The advantages of learning world languages are increasing as the world becomes gradually more globalized and interconnected. The ability to speak in other languages is now one of the most valuable and viable skills offered in schools. The World Languages Department in East Islip School District seeks to promote linguistic and cultural literacy while cultivating a life-long appreciation and enthusiasm for languages and the cultures they represent and reflect. We believe that all students can learn a new language with the right approach and the right mindset. We believe world language study is all about learning how to truly communicate and connect with others. When you reach fluency, you exercise the power of being deeply connected and the ability to think differently.
A Tie-Dye Triumph for the French Club
East Islip High School’s French Club recently held its ninth annual tie-dye bake sale campaign for the She’s the First Foundation, which sponsors education for girls in third-world countries. Club members made tie-dye T-shirts and sold tie-dyed bracelets and cupcakes, surpassing their goal of $400 and raising over $600 for the foundation’s work.
“My thanks to the club’s officers, the staff and the generous students of East Islip for supporting our cause,” French Club adviser Lauren Pinka said.
Honor Society Inductees Recognized
In a terrific series of outdoor ceremonies in the school’s outside sports pavilion, the high school inducted numerous deserving students into the Tri-M Music Honor Society (15 students on June 1), National Art Honor Society (52 students on June 2), World Language Honor Society (83 students on June 7), National Honor Society (66 students on June 8) and Math Honor Society (17 students on June 9). With families in attendance, the inductees were recognized and celebrated.
Breaking Language Barriers at East Islip HS Via Posters
For this year’s Foreign Language Week poster contest at the high school, the theme was “Languages Break Barriers.” Students studying Spanish, French, Italian or American Sign Language were encouraged to create posters that promote the benefits of learning another language. The posters were judged by teacher Daniel Figliozzi and art department faculty. Jack Wodicka was the first-place winner, Jocelyn Olds finished second, Emily Gut came in third and Chiara Mosca earned honorable mention.
FLHS Honors Seniors and Welcomes New Members
HS Language Students Raise Funds for Senior Scholarships
National Foreign Language Honor Society students at the high school held a Bingo Night on Feb. 6, collecting prizes from local businesses as well as donations from the local community. The event raised approximately $2,000 to fund scholarships for this year’s graduating NFLHS seniors.
“Our sincerest appreciation to the East Islip community and families who made this event possible,” said Italian language teacher Giuseppe Costa.
Celebrating the Study of Languages at EIHS
The annual Foreign Language Week brought exciting activities and celebrations of French, Italian and Spanish language and culture as well as American Sign Language to the high school during the first week of March, confirming the importance of studying world languages.
For the day devoted to American Sign Language, advanced ASL students interpreted popular songs, taught basic signs and played fun games in the library to spread deaf awareness to their fellow peers who are enrolled in a foreign language.
As part of the week’s initiative, students were asked to participate in a poster contest to encourage learning new languages, with this year’s theme being “Explore a Language, The World Needs You!” The winners, selected by art teacher Daniel Figliozzi, were awarded with Barnes & Noble gift certificates provided by the high school’s former language director, Dr. Janet Hiller. Genesis Madera-Blondet earned first place for her poster, while Ella Centauro came in second, Olivia Zhang took third and Madison Sturtz earned honorable mention.
Italian Students Explore Recipes
Thirty high school students studying Italian recently took a special field trip to the A la Carte Cooking School in Lynbrook, participating in a culinary team-building experience while making wonderful recipes. The students learned to prepare traditional Italian dishes such as bruschetta, gnocchi, polenta and tiramisu.
An Exciting Honor Society Kickoff
The high school’s National Foreign Language Honor Society recently held its first general meeting of the school year, with 130 out of 193 club members in attendance. This marks the largest ever group of student members for East Islip’s NFLHS. During the meeting, students and co-advisers Giuseppe Costa and Betty Muller discussed additions to Foreign Language Week schedule as well as scholarship fundraiser ideas including an open mic night where teachers and students could perform together and share their talents to build community.
“We are very excited to be able to have such a large group this year and look forward to an amazing year with all of the students at East Islip High School,” said Muller.
EI Partners with Stony Brook for Language College Credits
East Islip has partnered with Stony Brook University’s ACE program to provide the high school’s world language students with college credits. Beginning in fall 2019, high schoolers enrolled in level 4 or 5 French, Italian and Spanish courses may be eligible to earn up to eight credits from Stony Brook.
Led by Dr. Robert J. Wottawa II, the district’s director of art, ENL, music and world languages, East Islip began working through the rigorous approval process last September with three ACE program facilitators, Spanish professor Dr. Lilia Ruiz-Debbie and French and Italian professors Dr. Irene Marchegiani and Dr. Madeline Turan.
“We are excited to begin this partnership with Stony Brook as well as the professional development opportunities they will provide our world language teachers,” said Wottawa. “Stony Brook is nationally recognized and the earned credits are more transferable to other universities. This allows our high school students to earn the required language credits for many degrees or earn college credits that can be used toward their college graduation.”
High Schoolers Take Trip of a Lifetime to Costa Rica
A trip of a lifetime became a reality recently for 29 high school students, who were given the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica accompanied by the school’s world language teachers.
The tour kicked off in the nation’s capital city of San José, where students visited the charming Sarchí village, an old artisan town in the Alajuela Province known for its oxcarts with handpainted wheels. The tour continued with a visit to Arenal Volcano National Park, where the high schoolers were able to hike on rainforest trails and observe wildlife and plant species. The hike also provided access to a closer view of the active volcano itself. The next day, the students went on a kayak excursion on Arenal Lake, followed by another hike to experience hanging bridges, where they saw wild boar, snakes, birds and monkeys. The day ended with a dip in a natural hot spring heated by the volcano.
The students next visited a local elementary school in the town of Monteverde, where they donated items that they brought from home – such as Frisbees, soccer balls, footballs, notebooks, markers, pens and pencils – and observed an actual English lesson. After learning about reforestation, the traveling students planted their own trees to support the land and provide homes for native animals. They also went hiking and ziplining in the cloud forest of Monteverde, and took a horseback ride in the mountains surrounding the forest.
The last segment of the trip was spent along the Pacific coastline, including surfing lessons and a visit to Manuel Antonio National Park, where the students spent the afternoon swimming, relaxing and encountering sloths and friendly spider monkeys. The final night of their Costa Rican adventure was spent back in San José, concluding with a farewell dinner that featured a dance celebration and folklore show.
“Our students agree that this was a trip of a lifetime, one that they will never forget,” said Spanish teacher Betty Muller. “They were able to appreciate the love that Costa Ricans have for their country. One cannot understand how beautiful this country is and why its people are so happy unless you visit it.”
Four from EIHS Recite at Italian Poetry Contest
Four diligent Italian level 2 and 3 students from East Islip High School – Anthony Rossano, Emma Sasso, Anna Stauber and Gerson Tamayo – competed against more than 300 other students from across Nassau and Suffolk in the 34th annual American Association of Teachers of Italian Long Island Poetry Contest, held on April 12 at SUNY Old Westbury on April 12. It was East Islip’s first time competing in this event. The students were asked to memorize an Italian poem of 12-30 lines and recite it in front of a panel of judges.
Celebrating the Love of Languages at the HS
National Foreign Language Week was celebrated in the high school’s library from March 4-8, bringing a diversity of cultures to the forefront, including American Sign Language. For ASL Day, advanced students signed popular songs, taught vocabulary and the alphabet as well as other survival signs, and played fun, interactive games to spread deaf awareness. On a day for Italian culture, students danced the Neapolitan tarantella.
In Dr. Janet Hiller’s annual Foreign Language Week poster contest, Olivia Zhang took first place, Shannon Wodicka came in second and Olivia Pena in third, with Christian Guiliano earning honorable mention. Hiller, the district’s retired world language chairperson, provided the winners with Barnes & Noble gift cards.
Four high schoolers were also honored as World Language Students of the Month, representing each of the four languages taught by the World Language Department: George Ayoub for American Sign Language, Markus Higgins for French, Gianna Armstrong for Italian and Victoria Keenan for Spanish.
Gelato and a Show Highlight Italian Culture for HS Language Students
The high school’s Italian-language students recently enjoyed a three-part field trip celebrating the language and culture of Italy, beginning with a visit to Caffe Italia in Deer Park to taste fresh gelato. The students tasted a wide variety of gelato flavors as well as biscotti, pastries and cappuccino.
“It was like we were in Italy,” said Emily Gerde, one of several language teachers accompanying the students. “It is the most delicious and fresh gelato you will taste on Long Island.”
The next stop was the Jamaica Performing Arts Center in Queens, where the students took in an interactive performance by Incanto Productions, sponsored by the Italian American Committee on Education. The interactive show, “I Sette Mondi,” incorporated dancing, trapeze artists, and spoken and sung Italian, with audience participation geared toward different levels of language learners.
The day was completed with a trip to Heckscher Park in Huntington, where the students ate lunch and enjoyed the beautiful setting.
Commanding Ceremony Honors English Language Learners
The district’s second annual ENL Commanding ceremony, held recently in conjunction with Parent Night, recognized East Islip language students who scored “commanding” on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test.
“I am so proud of these students as well as their teachers,” said Robert J. Wottawa II, the district’s director of art, ENL, music and world language.