National Spanish Exam success


Marist High School is proud to announce that 170 students received medal status on the National Spanish Examination this spring, earning them gold medals from The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Fifty-five students received gold, 72 received silver and 43 received bronze medals along with 89 honorable mentions. Gold medals indicate scoring in the top five percent of the country.

Freshman Brianna Brown earned a perfect score on the level one exam and junior Martha Kolwaski had a perfect score at level three. They are the first students at Marist to achieve this.  

Additionally, Marist had 22 students win a combined $1,120 in local awards based on their performance. They have been invited to an annual awards presentation at Niles North High School on Saturday, May 13.

“Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, “because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 157,000 students participating in 2017.”

Students from Marist High School have a long history of high achievement on these exams and were taught by Spanish teachers Stephen Davidson, LaToya Hayes, Aisha Khan, Karolyn Krol, Cristina Lilek, Erica Nathan-Gamauf, Krista Placas and Elana Sitrin. 

The National Spanish Examinations are a motivational contest to recognize student achievement in the study of Spanish and to stimulate further interest in the teaching and learning of Spanish. They are online, standardized assessment tools for grades six through 12 given voluntarily by about 4,000 teachers throughout the United States to measure performance and achievement of students who are studying Spanish as a second language.

The National Spanish Examinations are the most widely used tests of Spanish in the United States. In the spring of 2016, a total of 169,697 students registered for the National Spanish Examinations.

Marist Spanish language students have also garnered other recent success. Senior Maria Arreola won a Spanish National Honor Society (SNHS) scholarship. There are only 12 of these awarded in the entire U.S. While Marist has had many students win the $1000 award, Arreola is the first at Marist to win the maximum amount of $2000 that she can use at the university of her choice. She submitted a recording of her speaking in Spanish, an essay, grade transcript, resume and two letters of recommendation. Additionally, junior Martha Kowalski received a first place ribbon and is one of the grand prize winners of the local chapter The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese’s poster contest. Contestants were asked to design a poster around the topic of promoting the learning of Spanish. 

“We are so proud of our Spanish language students and teachers,” explained Marist instructor and world language curriculum coordinator Erica Nathan-Gamauf. “Their success is a reflection of our innovative classroom atmosphere that promotes a love of learning and an appreciation of culture.”

Marist’s world language department offers courses in Spanish, Italian and French, along with associated co-curricular clubs and exchange programs with Marist schools in Italy, France, Spain, and Argentina.

List of NSE Gold Medalists