Rockland and Lyon students link hands
It began as an email penpal project but now it has evolved into a face-to-face meetand-greet this spring between a group of French-language studies students at Rockland District High School and their counterparts in Lyon in the Rhône River region of France.
Rockland District High School (RDHS) is one of 15 schools in the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) taking part in a cultural exchange partnership project between the UCDSB its counterpart in Lyon, France. The students in Kathie Bellemare’s French studies class at RDHS have an e-penpal relationship with a group of students at the Lycée Blaise Pascal in the village of Charbonnières-les-Bains, in the Lyon district.
“It was to help our students communicate better in French,” said Bellemare, regarding the main reason for taking part in the project.
“They want to practice their English, and my students want to practice their French.”
Bellemare noted also that the project has been a boost to the self-esteem of students on both sides because they can each identify with the other about the problems with learning and using a second language.
The two groups have been exchanging emails and some videos of life in their respective communities since last October. But now, something unique is going to happen to make their growing long-distance friendships even closer.
A group of about a dozen of the students from the Lycée are coming to Rockland for a visit in April. Theirs is the only school in the Lyon district which is taking the cultural exchange link to the next step because some funding has become available for the Lycée Blaise Pascal.
“So right now, I am hoping to be able to find billet families with my students,” Bellemare said.