CBNA Students Awarded New Hampshire Seal of Biliteracy



June 21, 2023

 For additional information, contact Judy Loto, Director of Development and Community Outreach:


For Immediate Release:

Four Coe-Brown Northwood Academy Students Awarded

New Hampshire Seal of Biliteracy


” None of these students are heritage speakers of Spanish, so they had to work even harder to meet NH state requirements to receive this distinction.”  — Jennifer Sommerer, Spanish Language Teacher and President Elect of the New Hampshire chapter of AATSP—American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese

Northwood, New Hampshire…Coe-Brown Northwood Academy Headmaster David S. Smith is pleased to announce that four seniors from the Class of 2023 have earned the New Hampshire Seal of Biliteracy. This important recognition was awarded to Molly Sawyer ‘23, Eric Boheen ’23, Isabella Naves ’23, and Geneva Telehala ’23 for their exemplary class work and perfect scores on the AP exam. These students received their award of distinction at graduation with the Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas. This is the second year in a row that CBNA students have received this prestigious honor, and the first year that the school has had four recipients at one time.

The Spanish AP exam is intense, with four components, including two multiple choice, and two written. In one section, students have to listen to and thoroughly understand an audio component before they can answer the questions. CBNA faculty member Jennifer Sommerer spent the year prior to the AP exam working with the students to improve their conversation techniques, listening skills, and understanding of Spanish culture worldwide and its influences. That in-depth immersion helped these four students complete the AP exam with confidence.

According to Michael Clauss, Dean of CBNA’s World Languages Department, the state of New Hampshire was one of the last in the nation to adopt the Seal of Biliteracy initiative, but finally did thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of educators from the New Hampshire Association of World Language Teachers, led by then-president Cindi Hodgdon. Clauss commented, “The Coe-Brown World Language Department is proud to have our students be among the first in the state to receive this honor. We see it as yet another way to acknowledge the incredible achievements of our students and provide them with visible proof of their accomplishments that will set them apart from their peers as they head off to college and the workplace.”

CBNA World Languages faculty member and AP teacher Jennifer Sommerer feels the same, “The NH Seal of Biliteracy that these students have received is proof that Coe-Brown Northwood Academy has a robust World Language program that is dedicated to upholding its part of the school’s mission statement of producing ‘graduates who are academically and socially prepared to be responsible, caring and contributing members of the global society.’”

Sommerer goes on to note that, “None of these students are heritage speakers of Spanish, so they had to work even harder to meet NH state requirements to receive this distinction.  Having the seal on their diploma will make them more marketable to future employers since they have received proof of measurable proficiency in a non-native language.  Most of these students plan to work in a field for which proficiency in Spanish is a valuable and/or required skill.  Additionally, Molly Sawyer has plans to minor in Spanish as part of her college program of studies.  On behalf of the World Languages Department, we are very proud of their achievement.”

The Seal of Biliteracy is a national award that has been adopted by more than forty other states across the country. The award recognizes students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. The New Hampshire Seal of Biliteracy award was made possible through collaboration between the NH Association of World Language Teachers (NHAWLT) and the NH Statewide English Learner Educator network. The NH Association of World Language Teachers has agreed to be the stewards of this award.

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy strives to produce graduates who are academically and socially prepared to be responsible, caring and contributing members of the global society.

Founded in 1867, Coe-Brown Northwood Academy is a comprehensive secondary institution offering the highest quality curriculum of studies to the residents of Northwood, Strafford, and surrounding towns, as well as matriculated day students from further afield.  The State of New Hampshire certifies Coe-Brown Northwood Academy as a “Public Academy” with public school approval. Our educational programs and opportunities are accessible to both traditional and non-traditional learners, responsive to the diverse needs of an ever-changing community, and consistent with state and federal laws supporting the education of our youth.

The Academy offers a curriculum of studies which is consistent with these premises and the laws of the State of New Hampshire.  This curriculum, woven into a coordinated course of study, will enable all students to realize their potential and prepare them for their chosen endeavors upon graduation.  The expertise of faculty and staff permits course offerings to develop the full potential of all students, whether they be educationally advantaged or challenged.  It is then incumbent on the students to be academically diligent, consistent in attendance, and positive in attitude to successfully complete their chosen course of studies.


Coe-Brown Northwood Academy is located at 907 First NH Turnpike, in Northwood, New Hampshire, on the shores of beautiful Harvey Lake. For further information about the school, please call 603-942-5531 or visit our website at


Caption Photo #1:

Coe-Brown Northwood Academy. (From L-R) Michael Clauss, Molly Sawyer, Isabella Naves, Geneva Telahala, Jennifer Sommerer. Missing from the photograph is Eric Boheen. Photograph courtesy of Coe-Brown Northwood Academy