On Thursday, September 22nd, forty-four Bishop Lynch High School students were inducted into their respective World Language Honor Societies – Delta Epsilon Phi for German, La Société Honoraire de Français for French and La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica for Spanish.
Membership into the honor societies is not easy. Grades, recommendations and essays are just some of the components of the applications. One of last year’s inductees Ryan Malin said, “For me, being in the honor society is a sign of my dedication to the German language and my ability to persevere in it.” Brianna Vergel agreed, adding, “It means a lot to me to be in the Spanish Honor Society.” While membership in an honor society shows excellence in academics, there is much more to it than that. “Don’t be closed-off into thinking that this is only for college credits. Immerse yourself in the culture and try to teach others about the culture and language. That’s the most important part,” stated Grace Mena, a member of the Spanish Honor Society.
Ms. Gabriella Briones, a 2010 alumna of Bishop Lynch, spoke to the crowd about the importance of learning a language and exploring the world and culture of languages. She stated, “Whatever the reason [for learning a language] might be, you’ve followed your enthusiasm this far and I encourage you to continue this pursuit. Learning a foreign language, in a country that does not place a high value on language acquisition, is huge. It will help you tremendously in college and in your professional careers.”
Mathew Young, German Club Secretary and new inductee, commented, “I thought [Ms. Briones’] speech was very inspiring. She showed me how hard work throughout life can really pay off. She inspired me to continue to learn German and possibly pick up another language.” German student Helena Lykke said, “I was shocked at how she was able to learn more than one language and apply it to her current job today.”
Briones concluded her speech with the following remarks, “The attacks that had happened in Paris and Brussels are still very fresh. I had to make peace with the idea that it was a very real possibility for something like that to happen in Berlin. But the adventures, the understanding, and the cross-cultural experiences, friendships and opportunities are too good to pass up. Study the grammar, make the flash cards, watch a movie with subtitles, write a pen pal, Skype a foreign friend, do everything you can now because you never know how far you’ll go in this world.”
Ms. Mena reacted to Briones’ words of wisdom, stating, “I like that she talked about all of the different places she traveled to and how she was immersed in so many different cultures. I also like when she talked about how even if a bombing in Berlin was possible all of the opportunities she had overlooked that. It was worth it.” Second year Delta Epsilon Phi member Ryan Malin commented, “I really appreciated Gabriella's speech. It reminded me of the importance of language and of continuing to study a language. She also provided me some insight on what it is like to study abroad, as well as the benefits that it provides.”
After being inducted, Matthew Young said, “Being in GNHS really inspires me to try to do my very best ... It inspires me to continue to take German and be the very best person I can be.”The honor societies are more than just good grades and G.P.A.’s. “It means [a lot] to me that if I work hard, it really pays off. I’m excited to be challenged and to take bigger steps in learning another language,” exclaimed new French Honor Society inductee Chelsea O'Donnell. “I can’t wait to have so much more fun these next two years!” Fellow junior and new German Honor Society member Lykke added, “To be in the society means to be a part of something bigger than myself, to give myself leeway to explore German culture, and to motivate myself to do better academically in pursuit of German knowledge.”
Brittany Chase Malone