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Galveston ISD’s Bilingual Department, in partnership with Galveston College and educational consultant and motivational speaker Dr. José Luis Zelaya, hosted the first Superlingual Max Finale recently.

GISD students in 2nd through 12th grade participated in the competition, which included spelling and cross-linguistic transfer challenges.

Students were selected for the finale competition after placing in the top three winning spots during previous qualifying challenges in their emergent bilingual classrooms.

Dr. Zelaya, a passionate educational leader who shares his story of being an unaccompanied minor immigrant who went from living on top of landfills in Honduras to attaining a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, served as emcee and led the competition by reading the challenges to the students in both English and Spanish for spelling or translation.

Three distinguished guest judges were present, including Dr. Weaver and Dr. Marquez from the University of Houston Clear Lake, and Dr. Walichowski from Texas A&M University.

“The long-term goal of bilingual education in GISD is to promote bilingualism, biliteracy and biculturalism among the district's 1,700 plus emergent bilingual students,” Jeff Paysse said, GISD’s district coordinator of bilingual/ESL programs.

“Superlingual Max 2023 was a semester-long initiative in grades 2-12 to facilitate academic vocabulary development across all subject areas and to build cross-linguistic transfer skills in both languages. The participants practiced and perfected spelling and translating in English and Spanish in class, at home and even during after school activities,” Paysse added.

“It is truly an honor to follow Mr. Paysse’s vision to maximize the power of being bilingual,” Dr. Zelaya said. “It is an honor to serve Galveston ISD.”

Trophies were awarded to the finalist winners. Paysse and the bilingual team look forward to making the competition an annual event.

Student contestants and family members were provided with refreshments by GISD’s Family and Community Engagement team.

To learn more about GISD’s bilingual program, contact