SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. -- Union Catholic's Jenny Liu, Amanda Lumauig, Selina Cao, and Olivia Zhang recently earned prestigious awards at the 37th Annual Orlando Saa Foreign Language Poetry Recitation Contest at William Paterson University.

Liu, a senior, placed first in Advanced ESL, Lumauig, a freshman, finished second in Beginner Spanish, Cao, a junior, placed third in Chinese Native, and Zhang, a sophomore, earned Honorable Mention in Intermediate ESL.

Ms. Elisa Maguigad, who has Lumauig in her Spanish class, was very impressed with how well Lumauig did in the competition.

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"I'm very proud of Amanda for her courage to try something new, something that's uncomfortable,'' said Ms. Maguigad. "Learning and speaking a new language can be uncomfortable. The fact that she got second place is absolutely incredible. The judges liked how she presented, and I think she made UC very proud in what she accomplished.''  

Lumauig was thrilled to finish second.

"I am half Dominican, so it means a lot to me to finish in second place and show my culture through Union Catholic,''said Lumauig, who lives in Metuchen.

Liu,  Zhang, and Cao all credited UC Chinese and ESL teacher, Mrs. Ya Wen, with helping them prepare for the poetry contest.

Liu was very excited to finish first.

"This was my first time participating in this poetry competition, so to get first place really means a lot to me and is every exciting and is great for my confidence,'' said Liu, who will attend Rutgers.