A week in France

Millard West celebrates French Week


Photo courtesy of Jordan Bakar

Students continue a Millard West tradition of creating poppy fields in the English hallways during French week. Both members of French club and students enrolled in French class take control of planning and creating activities. “I hope that people look forward to it every year,” French teacher and club sponsor Sarah Karst said. “We see it as an opportunity for the appreciation of the language and simply a celebration of the beauty of the language and the many cultures that accompany it.”

Kaden Roth, Staff Reporter

Students and staff indulged in the rich history and culture provided by the French department to celebrate French Week from Feb. 22 to the 26. This week of celebration normally takes place in the month of November, but due to the pandemic, French teacher and club sponsor Sarah Karst felt that pushing the week back to February was doable. 

The planning process starts at the beginning of the school year, in order to allow Karst time to map out French Club’s schedule. Many of the final decisions on displays and ideas are student-driven and a lot of dedication and work is put in by members of the club. The French classes also provide a helping hand, however, they are still expected to cover content so their helping opportunities are limited.

“I always try to map it out at the beginning of the year in French Club because they make most of the decisions on displays, and they put in a lot of work – several weeks at least,” Karst said. “My classes and Mr. Gracheck’s classes worked on things for about two or three class days and so it wasn’t too much time lost regarding content, and they had fun helping out.”

Although the students weren’t able to spend a lot of class time participating in creating the different activities and artwork, they were able to tie in some historical content they had learned throughout the course.

 “We made poppies out of paper and hung them on the wall- in France, the poppies are a symbol of remembrance of french veterans and victims of war,” freshman Sadie Smith said. “It was really fun because we got to learn more about French culture and take a break from class to make art for the whole school to enjoy” 

A number of projects came from previous years, many with new renditions like the lock bridge and trivia game, but both the club and classrooms contributed new ideas, like spirit day and Spotify playlists, with the hopes of engaging more students and staff.

“We got the inspiration for the activities and wall art from activities we had done for previous year’s French Week and from elements of the French language and culture we thought people would be interested in,” senior French Club member Kira Hall said. “We don’t often learn a lot about other cultures, and especially other languages, and things like French Week give us that opportunity.”

The goal of French Week is to not only bring awareness to some cultural aspects and some of the French language but to also create a unifying project that the students are able to come together for and be proud of. Being able to share a culture that has such a deep impact on the world’s shared history helps open a door to new ideas, opinions, thoughts, art, history, sports and important figures. 

“Young adults are at such a crucial phase in life, and very impressionable, where so much information is at their fingertips,” Karst said. “I’d like to contribute things that maybe can’t be found on Instagram or googled so easily and take that one step farther by teaching the skills required to make those students truly knowledgeable in that area. I think it’s important to provide people with as many pathways for new thought as possible and let them decide which to take – to me, that is what education, a culturally responsive education, is about.”

An annual week of celebration, the 2021 French Week was a success. With the constraints enacted by the pandemic, some of the activities planned by the group were tucked away until next year, so the school can expect an assortment of new and engaging activities in the years to come. Although this year’s French Week looked a little different than previous years, the French department was able to show off the time and effort they put into their activities.