French Honor Society programs connect students

Anirudh Seshadri, Managing Editor

Lynbrook’s French Honor Society plans to establish a pen pal program that will connect students to French-speaking students from Louisiana to help each other learn about their respective cultures. Additionally, SHF will launch an introductory French program, which will cover the basics of French grammar, vocabulary and culture for elementary and middle school students in the Bay Area.

SHF’s planning committees, Calissons and Croquembouche, have already begun to organize the program’s contents, hoping to launch them in 2022.

Previously in the winter of 2020, French 4 students wrote letters to elderly French people in retirement homes. SHF officers wanted to implement a similar program and connect students to those of their age who speak French as a first language, sparking the idea for a pen pal program. The Croquembouche committee plans to work with high school students from Louisiana, Martinique, Canada and even France.

“We chose Louisiana since it’s a big region with a high French-speaking population that’s in the U.S.,” SHF Co-President Jiatian Yuan said. “We also want some schools in the francophone parts of Canada, but there’s also something similar to international schools in Canada where they follow a French curriculum.”

The officers believe that the program would pave the way for students to learn about French-speaking cultures beyond just France. If the program is successful and students have positive interactions, especially with those from Louisiana, SHF hopes to introduce it to Lynbrook French classes in the future.

“It’s an opportunity to connect with people in ways that we don’t really learn about in the classroom because you don’t get the chance to be directly involved in French culture unless it’s through your teachers,” Yuan said. “For example, we don’t know what the trends or what slang is hip with the students, so it will be cool to actually talk to people our age as an extra way to dive into the culture.”

In addition, the Calissons hope to release their introductory French course for elementary and middle school students, mainly targeting those in the Bay Area. By January 2022, SHF aims to have the content for live classes ready so they can start to teach in mid-January. They are in the process of making the course more intricate and interactive after learning from their five-week pandemic workshop, in which they taught French skills and culture.

“The courses will be online, and we’re planning to use interactive games like Blooklet to enhance the learning process,” SHF Co-President Selena Yao said.

In the course, SHF officers want to teach students how to greet others and introduce themselves, as well as French culture, tourism, famous foods and celebrities.

By launching these programs, SHF hopes to help students further understand cultures from different French-speaking nations, fulfilling their mission of encouraging engagement with French and their community.