November 16, 2022

More than 100 high school students gathered at Susquehanna University for Journée de la Francophonie, an interactive day for French activities and conversation.

The event is organized by Lynn Palermo, associate professor of French studies, and Arnaud Tcheutou, visiting assistant professor of French, and the students in their Oral Expression and Public Speaking and French Cultural Questions and Language classes.

“Our goal is to engage students as participants, not just spectators, by helping them function in French as much as possible and by opening them up to the larger French-speaking world and French-language studies beyond high school,” Palermo said.

Unique this year was that four SU alumni were among the teachers in attendance – Amanda DuCharme ’17, Sylvia Grove ’07, Brittany Bunting-Specht ’09 and Carolyn Wert ’14 – making for a special reunion.

“Lynn has touched many lives and it’s amazing to share my students with her at this event,” said Grove, who teaches at Central York High School.

It was the fifth time Specht has brought her students to the event.

“It’s just a good opportunity for them to see and hear others speaking French,” said Bunting-Specht, who teaches at Selinsgrove Area High School. “And it’s always good to be back.”

DuCharme, who teaches French at Linden Hall School for Girls, Lititz, Pennsylvania, helped plan the event while they were a student as Susquehanna.

“When I was a student, I remember being very nervous. I knew that I could speak French better than a high school student, but what if I couldn’t?” DuCharme said. “But then it was exciting and so much fun.”

In addition to giving students tours of the Lore Degenstein Gallery, Susquehanna students led language and cultural games – all in French.

“I wanted to give my students some speaking practice outside of our classroom,” said Wert, who teaches French at Moravian Academy, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “Putting their French into practice this way makes it more authentic for them and gives them confidence.”