Parlez vous Francais?

11 years ago

Parlez vous Francais?

To the editor:
    As I read MSAD 32’s classified advertisement for a Spanish Teacher in the recent Star-Herald, I reflected on why the district I live in was advertising for a Spanish teacher. I thought, “Now is the time to reconsider placing a French teacher in a school where so many of these students’ family heritage is French.” As a former, and for many years French teacher at the old Ashland Community High School, I felt that writing this letter would be better than just doing nothing at all.

    Over the years, I have had many an adult say, “I don’t remember anything about the French I took for two years.” I smile and think to myself, I wonder what you remember about the “Pythagorean Theorem? Or what year Maine became a state? After all, math and social studies were at least 10 years of classes. You see, it isn’t about what you retain; but what you do with the knowledge you were given.
    I write to you readers to also bring awareness that with the 2014 World Acadian Congress from August 15-24, in 2014 — where over 40,000 people are expected to come from all over the world to northern Maine and neighboring Quebec and New Brunswick, I wonder why the voters, parents, students, school administrators, and finally School Board does not see the long-lasting benefits of teaching our children to be proud of their heritage? It may not be French heritage for all; but when the Fort Kent School District, the St. Agatha/Frenchville School District, the Madawaska School District and others are willing to postpone the start up of their school year and share their buses, drivers and buildings for this “Once in a lifetime event” — it speaks volumes about a language that is very well recognized and respected throughout the world.
    Therefore, I encourage the citizens of Portage Lake, Ashland, Garfield, Masardis and Oxbow to think about the past and the future of their children and their communities. Like many other great winter events that take place in northern Maine, hopefully the students of MSAD 32 will not only have the opportunity to benefit from such an educational experience so close to home but be offered the opportunity to communicate in years to come in such a rich world language. And remember, parents and school personnel, the minimum two year foreign language graduation requirement actually has various paths in which it can be met, if you want it to! Think about it! Merci.

Linda Theriault Caron
Portage Lake