BRHS Senior Angelo Chen Wins Scholarship for Top French Student in New Jersey

Gianna Jakubowski, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Angelo Chen, a Bridgewater-Raritan High School 12th Grade student, is the winner for top student in French of Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey’s (FLENJ) annual statewide contest for high school seniors.

The winners receive a $500 scholarship for college.

Participating seniors were given a topic and asked to write an essay in the language they are studying. This year’s topic included the importance of learning a world language. 

Chen won the award for top French student in all of New Jersey. Not knowing what to expect, Chen started to brainstorm ideas on paper.

Although he says “It was a good essay,” Chen did not expect to win. 

He exclaims, “I’m happy I won though!”

Chen’s essay was centered around how language opens up career opportunities and also furthers our cultural awareness of other people. 

He says that part of the reason he won may have been because he “tied a bit of [his] own experiences into the essay instead of using generic cliches.” He wrote about his own future goals in his essay and related it to how learning a language can help him achieve them.

After high school, Chen plans on majoring in Biological Sciences and Public Health and is also considering a potential double major. He is presumably going to attend Rice University in Houston, Texas.

He says that he may take more French classes in the future, noting that learning the language is “important because it’s always great being able to communicate with other people.”

Chen’s AP French teacher, Madame Kostis, describes how proud she is of her students.

“We have a strong French program in this district thanks to the dedicated teachers and wonderful students.  It’s incredible to see that especially at the upper levels, students are able to write entire essays in French, read books, and have complex conversations!”

Madame Kostis goes on to explain the French department’s mission. 

“We motivate students to work hard so that they can reach their full potential.  The satisfaction is when students see how much they have learned, connect French to other subjects, and they can truly communicate in the language! French is one of the most important languages in the world and French can help students in any area they pursue in the future.”

She went on to explain.

 “After Angelo won,  he shared his essay with me. I  was impressed and deeply touched. He spoke not only about the influence of French in his life but the native language of his family.  He told the story of what many of us as the children of immigrants to this country experience on a daily basis. Language connects human beings on so many levels and knowing languages is an invaluable skill!”