DL/I Discourse Article: NABE HS Essay Winner from NC!

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March 6, 2020  

Dual Language/Immersion




NC DL/I Discourse Magazine: Student Spotlight

by Cynthia Bredenberg


NABE High School Essay Winner from NC! 


Congratulations to high school senior, Damaris Castillo, the recipient of the 2020 National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) student essay competition for grades 9-12. Damaris, a DL/I student at Jordan-Matthews High School in Siler City, NC, wrote the essay entitled “Our World,” in her second language, English.


NABE Winner

The award covered her expenses to attend the annual NABE Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 25-28, 2020. Her parents and her Spanish teacher, Cynthia Bredenberg, also attended to support her as she read her winning essay in both English and Spanish. Damaris wrote about how she lives in two worlds, one English-speaking and one Spanish-speaking. Her love of both worlds is what she cherishes and sees as a bridge to the future. Living in both cultures and languages led her to conclude that they are all part of her world. 


To quote her essay, “I guess I don’t really live in two worlds after all. It’s one world, a beautiful world. It’s my world, and I am madly enamorada with it.”  There was not a dry eye in the room as Damaris touched upon the issues that affect all bilinguals. Jordan-Matthews Spanish teacher Cynthia Bredenberg stated that, “This has been a wonderful experience for Damaris and we, at Jordan-Matthews, along with her parents, are so proud of her!”


nabe winner

Damaris joined the Spanish DL/I program in 3rd grade at Siler City Elementary School. Her future plans include college and, after attending the NABE conference, perhaps studying education!

The ceremony concluded with NABE past-president, Dr. Margarita Pinkos, presenting Damaris with a NABE membership pin and encouraging her to do great things with her two languages.


To learn more about Damaris’ experiences as a DL/I student and the impact that a K-12 DL/I program in Chatham County Schools has had as a whole, listen to the Chatham County Schools interview.



Read the wining essays as submitted to NABE


All pictures, names  and documents used with permission

2020 NABE Awards Ceremony

Ivanna Mann Thrower Anderson, NCDPI ESL/Title III Consultant and DL/I co-lead, attended this year's NABE Conference and Awards Ceremony. She stated, "It was so exciting to hear the award winners share about their DL/I journeys." She met Damaris, the essay award winner highlighted above, and cheered her on, along with Damariis' teacher and parents, as she read her essay and thanked NABE for the opportunity to share a part of her story.


Participating in this ceremony made Ivanna wonder how many NC educators and their students know about these opportunities to showcase their DL/I experiences.


Did you know that NABE offers awards for:

  • Elementary, Middle, and High School Essays
  • Outstanding Dissertation
  • DL/I Teacher of the Year
  • DL/I Teacher Preparation Scholarship (College Student)

Winners receive a paid trip to the NABE Conference, a trophy, a certificate, and the opportunity to speak at the Awards Ceremony.  The Teacher of the Year was also awarded a scholarship to attend a Spanish training session in Spain, presented by the Education Attache from Spain, Cristobal Gutierrez Carrera.


How can you be next? 

  • Encourage your students to write essays and enter the NABE competition 
  • Nominate an outstanding DL/I related dissertation
  • Nominate an amazing DL/I educator for NABE Teacher of the Year
  • Attend the 50th Annual NABE Conference in Houston, Texas, on January 20 - 22, 2021
nabe new


To help you prepare, see the:


Go to NABE.org for more information

NC DL/I Discourse Magazine: Update

The DL/I Discourse Magazine is taking on a NEW FORMAT! Articles will be shared via the listserv several times per month, loaded to the DL/I Discourse Magazine page on the DL/I website, and then compiled into the DL/I Discourse Magazine format, similar to the Fall of 2019 (PDF), at the end of the season.


Watch for information about topics such as DL/I:

  • Spotlights on students and programs
  • Standards
  • Instruction
  • Leadership
  • Principal's Blog
  • DL/I Quarterly Webinars
  • Of Interest including resources, conferences and more
DL/I Discourse magazine cover