Twenty Jefferson Township middle and high school students have ranked nationally in the 83rd annual Le Grand Concours, a competition of written, oral, and listening comprehension skills in French.

More than 85,000 students in all 50 states competed in the 2018 event. The following Jefferson students of teachers Jean Rice, Marybeth Neuschatz, and Karen Kozlowski earned national rankings:

Honorable Mention – 50th to 70th national percentile:
Grade 7: Veronica Cottone, Alia Daniel, Emily Finkel, Karla Guerrero Menjivar
Grade 8: Ella DiLizia, Morgan Hine, Niriksha Jayakumar, Shanna Leek, Shayla Meli, Samantha Spaloss

Bronze Medal – 75th and 80th national percentile:
Grade 7: Alyssa Cai
Grade 8: Caralyn Rexroad, Erica Wurster

Silver Medal – 85th and 90th national percentile:
Grade 7: Tanvi Mavani
Grade 8: Kedar Padalkar, Zachary Verlardi, Raymond Zhao
Grade 9: Anthony D’Alauro, Maya Dhillon

Gold Medal – 95th national percentile:
Grade 7: Nina Dhillon

Jefferson Township Middle School grade 7 Grand Concours students. (Photo provided by Judy Gurlacz)
Jefferson Township Middle School grade 8 Grand Concours students.
From left to right, back row: Zachary Verlardi,-Silver Medal, Kedar Padalkar-Silver Medal, Niriksha Jayakumar-Honorable Mention, Erica Wurster-Bronze Medal, Raymond Zhao-Silver Medal, Shayla Meli-Honorable Mention, Grade 8 French Teacher-Marybeth Neuschatz
From left to right front row:
Morgan Hine-Honorable Mention, Shanna Leek-Honorable Mention, Ella DiLizia-Honorable Mention, Cara Rexroad-Bronze Medal, Samantha Spaloss-Honorable Mention. (Photo provided by MaryBeth Neuschatz)

According to the president of the American Association of Teachers of French, Catherine Danièlou, students who rank nationally in Le Grand Concours demonstrate “a superior level of global responsibility, integrative cultural competence, language skills, and commitment to excellence and dedication.” She added that all participants and winners “embrace an appreciation for other cultures, strive to continually learn and improve, and value the study of French.”

For more information about the National French Contest, visit

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