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The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

The student news site of Hagerty High School

The BluePrint Online

Language programs shine at festival

Language+programs+shine+at+festival

Language programs excelled at the World Language Festival at Seminole High School on Feb. 24. Seminole County represents 123 different languages, and the World Language Festival aims to celebrate the diversity of culture across the schools.

The festival had many events, including declination (speaking for one to three minutes) based off prompts, skits, art and entertainment (in the form of an onstage performance at the end of the event). Each student participated in two events, where they were judged on a variety of factors, such as pronunciation and expression. For each event, they received a mark of fair, good, excellent, or superior. Students earned trophies for excellent or higher. 

Hagerty achieved the highest scores overall, with American Sign Language, Spanish, French and Chinese programs participating.

Sophomore Celeste Bustillo participated in the art showcase and the improvisational speaking. 

“The entire night before, I was working on my painting,” Bustillo said. “I was super nervous [that I] wouldn’t win a superior.”

The art gallery competition prompted contestants to connect the world through languages. The art pieces were displayed in the galley section, where visitors could walk around and look at the different works. 

“When I was checking out the art gallery, there were a lot of really skillful paintings, which made me really doubt myself,” said Bustillo. “When I found out I got all superiors, I was so happy all my hard work paid off.”

Sophomore Brooky White performed onstage alongside many other ASL students, signing the song “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfeild, in a performance that got a standing ovation. For ASL, the audience performances were not judged.

“Performing on stage was fun because I [had] close friends around me, but it was also nerve-wracking because it’s a performance that was judged,” White said. “Winning just felt amazing after putting in so much work.”

Native speakers who volunteered to participate judged the competitions. 

“I was asked, and I love France. I love my language, and I love sharing the love of it. So I said ‘Yes,’ right away. It’s fun, and it’s rewarding,” French judge Anne-Laurie Mulle said. “The students are there to support each other. So it’s really a positive event and everybody should attend and try. You have nothing to lose.”

The World Language Festival started when Minnie Cardona first became director of ESOL and world languages 15 years ago. During the opening ceremony, kindergartners perform and, since the festival began, she always marvels at how many students come up to her, talking about how they remembered performing when they were little and continued to pursue learning languages. 

“I feel really proud of everything that has been accomplished,” Cardona said. “I do this because I love seeing the students’ faces at the end of the day when they’re recognized for their hard work. And we have become such a rich, diverse district–why not celebrate all the different cultures and what the students learn in the world language classrooms?”

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Holly Smyers, Staff Reporter
Holly is a sophomore at Hagerty High School, and this is her first year on staff. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading and ice skating.
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