What’s the toughest part of an ambassador’s job? Staying in shape when offered so much delicious food.
That’s what French Ambassador GÃ©rard Araud told giggling students in Oak Hollow Elementary’s French-English Dual-Language Immersion students during his visit to the school Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. The visit offered the students the opportunity to showcase their language skills, cultural understanding, and performances of songs, skits, and school lessons all en FranÃ§ais.Â
Ambassador Araud offered high praise for his student hosts, who began learning French in the first grade. Â
Â “It is great to meet these children, because it gives you hope in human kind,” Ambassador Araud said. “I believe these days, we need it. We really need it.”
Students welcomed Ambassador Araud, accompanied by Consul General Pauline Carmona and Educational AttachÃ© Karl Cogard, with flowers and gifts upon his arrival. Fifth-graders escorted the French leaders to classrooms, where students in first- through fifth-grades performed songs and skits and demonstrated their math and science prowess. Students also interviewed Ambassador Araud, asking him a range of questions, from what he drives (a BMW) to his favorite animal (horses).
Â “We’re honored to have you here,” Principal Julie Mootz told Ambassador Araud. “Students in first grade just started French immersion a few months ago, and already they’re comfortable with it. They’re immersed. Not only in the language, but in the culture, because of our partnership with you.”
CSD offers French-English Dual-Language Immersion (DLI) programs at Oak Hollow and at Butler Elementary in Cottonwood Heights, and in their feeder middle schools. The programs are supported by the French Embassy and French Consulate in San Francisco, which provide resources including FrenchÂ elementary teacher recruitment, teacher training workshops, and stipends for teachers to study in France.
Oak Hollow and Butler elementaries have received the French Ministry of Education’s prestigious Label FrancEducation, a rare honor recognizing institutions that provide students with high-quality francophone departments and access to a range of services.Â
The ambassador’s visit was attended by Canyons School District and state leaders, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brad Smith and Speaker of the Utah House Greg Hughes, R-Draper. Following his visit to Oak Hollow, Ambassador Araud spoke at Brigham Young University.