School welcomes French exchange students

Visitors on campus through April 29

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Evan Schoettle

French teacher Mr. Gary Spurgin helps coordinate the annual student exchange.

Jenna Williams, Co-Editor

One of the trademark goals of a Cathedral education is to bring learning to life. A tried and true method of this is the annual French exchange with Cathedral’s sister school in Lyon, France.

World language department chairperson Mr. Gary Spurgin said, “To me, I think (the importance) is introducing our students to a different culture, bringing the culture and bringing the language to life for our students. I also think it makes the world a lot smaller, because there have been former (French exchange) students who have kept in contact, so there are strong friendships that are formed through the exchange. I also believe that it shows that French is widely spoken, and that we are more similar than different.”

French and Spanish teacher Mrs. Kathy Darnell agreed. She said, “It gives (our students) a chance to see that it’s more than just their teacher speaking French. It also gives them a chance to hear the French students making mistakes in English, which makes them feel better about making mistakes in French as they’re learning. It tells them that they don’t have to perfect.”

The exchange program will continue through April 29. It was first initiated in 2002.

“There are five days they’ll spend shadowing their student here. They’ll go to class, see what our school system is like, see what an American school is like,” Darnell said.

While the students are here, they will go on several planned outings including trips to the Indiana State Museum, Lincoln Square, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Edinburgh outlet mall, the Indianapolis Zoo, a baseball game and Indiana University.

“We build in excursion days for them so they get to know not only our city, but the French exchange students also get to know different parts of the state,” Spurgin said.

Junior Gabi Hanahan hosted an exchange student last year and is doing so again. She said, “My favorite moment was when we took them to the 360 tower in Chicago; they had never experienced anything like it and were speechless.”

Hanahan had a positive experience last year with the exchange program and is happy to repeat the experience again. She said, “It is really fun to see their excitement and make lasting friendships.”