Ro­ck­land and Lyon stu­dents link hands

Vision (Canada) - - Community - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN

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.

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