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C-NS Graduate awarded Lead with Languages Teacher Scholarship

Lexie Hnatiw, a 2019 graduate of Cicero-North Syracuse High School, has always known that she wanted to teach. “For years I’ve said how I’m going to teach my own kids and shape their futures for the better,” she said.

When she was exposed to the French language though, she fell in love and teaching her passion to others became her goal. “The language is beautiful and I want others to experience all that French has to offer. Throughout my years in high school I’ve formed such a passion for the language, the culture, the art, and of course the food! I learned as much as I could about the country and realized that I want to spread my love and knowledge for such a beautiful place to others who may share a similar interest,” Lexie said. “What better way to do that than to teach the subject itself?”

So when Lexie was notified this past summer that she would be receiving a Lead with Languages teacher scholarship, she was thrilled. Lexie is one of only 10 students nationwide to receive the scholarship through the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
This is the first year that the scholarship has been presented to graduating high school seniors going on to pursue the teaching profession in a foreign language. Lexie is currently attending SUNY Geneseo and is working towards her degree in French Education. She will receive a $1500 scholarship each of the four years that she is at Geneseo and upon graduation, she will also receive a one-year membership to the ACTFL.
Lexie was one of five C-NS students to be surprised by SUNY Geneseo representatives and the school’s mascot this past December, when they came to C-NS to present the students with letters of early acceptance. Lexie also won a local scholarship through LECNY – Language Educators of Central New York – this past spring.
When Lexie’s former C-NS teacher, Jessica Keanne, learned that Lexie would be receiving the scholarship, she said, “To say that I am proud of Lexie is a gross understatement. I know that she will become a wonderful French teacher and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.”
Lexie has spent her first few weeks at college adjusting to new teaching styles and thinking about the teacher she wants to become. “I definitely want to incorporate the ways both my French teachers at the C-NS teach because I found it very inclusive and easy to understand when dealing with a foreign language. French can be tricky to deal with, but creating small limericks and songs to memorize has been a huge help. It may seem silly at first, but then you catch yourself humming the tunes during an exam and it all comes together,” she said.
Being in a new environment has given Lexie a chance to reflex on and appreciate her former teachers. “I want my kids to feel that they can approach me, to not be afraid to ask for help when it’s needed. Forming bonds with the students in my opinion is crucial because they then create their own drive to either prove to themselves they can do it, or maybe even to prove to me that they understand the material given,” she said. “I can only hope to become even half the teacher that the faculty at C-NS are, they set the bar pretty high but I will do everything in my power to make them proud!” 
Learn more about the Lead with Languages scholarship online by clicking here.