Twenty-four Missouri high schoolers received a Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Languages during a ceremony on March 21 from UMSL. (Photo by August Jennewein)

All those hours studying a foreign language have paid off for a group of area high school students who were honored for their achievements by the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Twenty-four high school students from the greater St. Louis metro area received a Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Languages at a recognition dinner held on March 21 in the Millennium Student Center on UMSL’s North Campus. This is the first year the honors were bestowed.

“The goal of our event is to celebrate the study of foreign languages and encourage students to continue this pursuit at the university level,” said Ron Yasbin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The award recognizes high school juniors who demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics and languages, as well as participation in foreign language-related activities and studies.

Students, their parents and teachers were treated to dinner and a performance by the 29-member Lindbergh High School (Sappington, Mo.) Strolling Strings.

Guests were read a congratulatory letter from the Consulate General of France in Chicago. They heard comments from Jorge Riopedre of the UMSL Leadership Council and executive director of Casa De Salud. UMSL Poet Laureate Jennifer Goldring read aloud an original poem she crafted.

The keynote speaker was Jordi Prats, a senior executive from the Maritz Company.

Recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Languages are:

Affton High School
Jessica Castellanos

Belleville East High School
Karl O’Brien

Christian Brothers College High School
Max Keeley

Crossroads College Prep. School
Cecilia Boyers

Duchesne High School
Alison Swearingen

Edwardsville High School
Miles Wright

Eureka High School
Alex Roberds

Fox Senior High School
Amy Schremp

Francis Howell North High School
Matthew Schneider

Kirkwood High School
Ellen Sulser

Lindbergh High School
Hannah Tonner

Lutheran South High School
Melissa Crombie

Marquette High School
Mary Madeline Willis

Nerinx Hall High School
Susan Mathias

Oakville High School
Daniel Carter

Parkway South High School
Maya Mills

Rockwood Summit High School
Katie Repko

Rosati-Kain High School
Diva Lucia Norton

Saint Louis Priory
T. J. Niemann

St. Francis Borgia Regional High School
Calvin Korba

Trinity Catholic High School
Katie Driskill

University City High School
Gianni Cook

Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill School
Madeleine Louise Swanstrom

Washington High School
Calvin Blaylock

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez