Suffield High School has recently observed National French Week, an annual celebration organized by the American Association of Teachers of French. Each year, AATF, together with branches of Alliance Française and French organizations across the country, join forces in promoting the French language and increasing understanding and appreciation of the francophone world in schools and communities across the United States.
During the French Week, which was celebrated at the high school in early December, the World Language Honor Society took the lead role in organizing a variety of cultural events promoting the diversity of francophone cultures. Each morning, SHS’s daily news show, Morning Update, welcomed all students and staff with contemporary music, cultural facts, and language from a variety of francophone countries. French language students Matthew Sinofsky and Fletcher Seymour, serving as anchors all week, delivered a lively and enthusiastic show featuring student guests Allison Gambrel, Gabrielle Zeller, Liam Duffy, and Jewel Hazlett who joined in sharing information and cultural perspectives from French speaking countries around the world.
Sarah Johnston, the French Honor Society President, along with Shreedula Balakrishnan, the Spanish Honor Society President, and Gabrielle Zeller, the World Language Honor Society Secretary, took the initiative to organize a number of cultural events for the week. The hot chocolate and croissant fundraiser was a popular (and delicious!) event that was enjoyed by many students and staff. In addition, the Francophone Cultures Dress Up Day was an opportunity to celebrate the linguistic particularities and colorful diversity of the many cultures.
In addition, French language students explored the achievements of inspiring individuals of the French speaking world of today. Their research findings, compiled in a creatively designed visual piece, formed a diverse mosaic that was displayed in the high school for all to enjoy. Students were encouraged to explore the areas linked to their academic studies, extracurricular activities, or personal interests. Their work represented accomplished individuals from many fields – arts and entertainment, sciences, politics, sports, literature, and more.
As a result of the French Week celebration, Suffield High School students were able to expand their knowledge of the contemporary francophone world, and also to realize that although the perspectives on the topics that interest us tend to be shaped by our cultures, oftentimes we, as individuals, have more in common with other world communities that we might realize.