Price Middle School’s Historical Trip to Nancy, France

On June 7, 2013, the students of Luther Judson Price Middle School, of Atlanta Public Schools, embarked upon a trip of a life time. With generous donations from the general public and a grant from the United States Department of State, four American middle students who study the French language and their French teacher, Madame Shamita Johnson, traveled to Nancy, France. Upon arrival, the American students met their French middle school colleagues of Collège de Haut Penoy face-to-face for the first time after communicating with them, for nine months, by postal letters, emails, social media, and Skype.  After the American students were greeted by their French families, upon arrival to Nancy, France, a wonderful discovery of the French language and culture continued. One of the major highlights of the trip occurred on June 10, 2013.  Students were warmly welcomed by the Honorable Mayor Stéphane Hablot and his cabinet at Vandœuvre-les-Nancy, France City Hall. The American students and their French colleagues, along with the principal, teachers, and parents from Collège de Haut Penoy, met face-to-face with the Honorable Mayor Hablot who informed all of the students that “Today is the beginning of a lasting international relationship between Nancy, France and Atlanta, Georgia.  Students, we are counting upon you to lead us into the 21st century through technology and more importantly culture and language”.  After a twenty minute speech, the American students were asked to say a few words, of which Dyamond Jefferson, an eighth grade students began by saying, “I am very pleased to be here, Mayor Hablot, and thank you for inviting us.  Thereafter, Precious Heard, a sixth grade student stipulated, “Mayor Hablot, I echo Dyamond Jefferson’s statement and I would also like to add that I look forward to coming back many times in the years to come”.  Joshua Contreras, an eighth grade student, further added that “This is my first time to Nancy, France and I am grateful to the many people who helped me get here to meet you, Sir. Thank you for having my classmates and I visit your wonderful country and edifice”. Then, Quinesha Thomas, a seventh grade student, said “Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to personally meet and encourage all my classmates and I to be the future leaders of the world”.

The purpose of traveling to France was to further enhance students’ knowledge and skills in the French language and culture to become real life active global citizens of our 21st century society.  This historical trip to Nancy, France has positively impacted all of the students involved in the program.  The students of Luther Judson Price Middle School experienced going to school at Collège de Haut Penoy in a real live context.  As a result, their self-esteem has enhanced, they’ve developed intercultural awareness skills by staying with their French families and interacting with their French colleagues at school. The design of the program taught students how to become independent learners who recognize the relationship between school subjects and the real world through real life activities done while in Nancy, France.  Moreover, this experience assisted students to adapt to new situations and combine relevant knowledge to practical and social mediums enhancing their critical thinking skills.

This program will be ongoing to develop students’ intercultural awareness  from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as well as to participate actively and responsibly in a changing and increasingly interrelated world through learning the French and English languages to thereby become successful life-long learners and leaders.  Therefore, we look forward to ongoing financial support from the United States Department of State in order to assist students to discover how knowledge is interrelated with the real world which helps students intrinsic motivation, deeper and lasting understanding, and facilitates a transfer of learning.  By encouraging the students to draw on many different approaches to acquiring knowledge and skills, students will realize that most real-world issues require insight gained from a variety of disciplines.

written by Madame Shamita Johnson, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques,  Fulbright Scholar & Fulbright Exchange Teacher World Language Instructor – Luther Judson Price Middle School

 

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