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CHS Students Achieve Medal Status in National Spanish Exam

A group of Cleburne High School students have been honored for their achievements in scoring in the top percentile in the 2020 National Spanish Exam.

                The annual competition, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portugese, recognizes student achievement in the study of Spanish while encouraging continued study to increase language proficiency. Through an online assessment, middle school and high school participants have their performance in interpretive communication measured, with honors presented for outstanding achievement. Participants in the spring examination totaled more than 140,000.

                Junior Moises Vargas was a gold medalist in the national contest in scoring above the 95th percentile among those undergoing the exam. Angelina Andersen, Mariela Rodriguez, Eduardo Pedroza, Karla Lara and Jessica Torres achieved silver medal recognition in placing within the 85th to 94th percentiles.

                Bronze recognition was achieved by Jana Jazmin Martinez, Kylee Howington, Maryn Tennison, Miguel Salazar and 2020 graduate Merari Belmares in scoring at the 75th through 84th percentiles. Belmares also received a 4 on the AP Spanish exam.

                Eleven CHS students achieved Honorable Mention, with their performances on the exam placing them in the 50th through 74th percentiles. They include Tammy Nguyen, Bianca Vara, Josue Gaytan, Bianca O’Bryant, Brody Cottongame, Alyssa Cox, Joselyn Huerta, Madi Munn, Parker Pritchard, Kyle Murphy and Brianna Martinez.

                “We are very pleased and proud of the achievements of these students,” CHS Foreign Language Department Chairman Ciro Salazar said. “To see them scoring in the top percentile on a national exam involving thousands of students from across the country is very exciting and rewarding for us, as their teachers. It brings a great deal of honor to our program and to Cleburne High School.”

                Andersen, who is a sophomore, was surprised and pleased she was a silver medal honoree for her score on the national exam. Her score makes her eligible to apply for the Global Citizen Scholarship program available through the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portugese.

                “To get a silver medal was a total surprise,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d done that well. I’m definitely excited. We were well prepared for the exam—our teachers did a great job with that. To be honest, I took the test for my teachers, in appreciation for all they’ve done for me. I thought if I did good, they would feel good. It’s also important for me to do well in school.”

                With both English and Spanish spoken in her home, Andersen said she was conversational in both languages when she was younger, but since lost some ground in Spanish.

                “I have a definite desire to regain my Spanish skills and am working toward being bilingual in both speaking and writing,” she said. “I want to be an architect and I believe I will be around people who speak other languages, including Spanish. I’m in Pre-AP Spanish II this year and plan to take another year as a junior.”

                Engaging students in the annual National Spanish Exam is a longstanding initiative of the CHS Foreign Language program. Spanish teachers within the department include Salazar, Ruth Rios, Lymaris Román, Jean Wickham, Justine Cooper and Rocio Juarez.