French Projects Come to Life through MISH

Courtney DeLong, Editor-In-Cheif

This year, students in upper-level French courses learned about issues of education by watching the documentary “On The Way to School”, which is about what children around the world do to get an education.

It tells the stories of Jackson, an 11-year-old from Kenya, Carlito, an 11-year-old from Argentina, Zahira a 12-year-old from Morocco and Samuel a 13-year-old from India. They travel for hours a day to get to school. Jackson avoids dangerous wildlife, Carlito rides a horse in severe weather, Zahira crosses mountains and Samuel is pushed in a wheelchair through rough terrain.

“They would rather risk their lives than live in extreme poverty,” French teacher Ladane duBoulay explained. “The only way to rise is through education.”

Last year, DuBoulay’s AP French, French 3 and French 3A students worked in pairs to create presentations about a specific child in the movie, their home country, and specific theme like poverty or family dynamics. This year, French 3 and French 3A are doing the same project and the film is part of an AP class project as well.

“We really focused on the culture and the way that people live,” Lazarena Lazarova said.

Senior Kintashe Mainsah was felt a personal connection to and was inspired by the project. “My dad comes from Cameroon. The struggles he faced [are similar]… [so] I put a lot of time into [the project] and really did my best job. Coming off a movie that talked about the power of education and children who gave 100%, it made me want to give 100%,” she said.

Mainsah and other student’s effort paid off. DuBoulay noted that since students spent so much time on the project, they accurately applied grammar and conjugation skills.

Inspired by the students’ dedication and a conversation with Community Service Director Amy Atlee, duBoulay added a service learning component to the project. For two years now her class has been raising money for Douda Gaceyele, an elementary school, in Djibouti, her home country. Djibouti is a small country located in the Horn of Africa with about 873,000 inhabitants.

While Djibouti was not featured in the film, schools in the country are in need. Many students cannot afford to eat more than one meal a day and come to school hungry.  There is also a shortage of school supplies. When duBoulay visited the school, she learned that children would only have one pencil for the whole academic year, often sharpened to the last inch

The project has expanded since last year when the class made $250 by selling crêpes at flex lunch. This year, they showed the film Thursday at 6 p.m. in order to show the whole community what they studies. They will be raising money by hosting Jeans Days on Fridays Dec. 3 and 10 and by selling crepes on Wednesday Dec. 7.

DuBoulay hopes to continue expanding the project in the future by raising more money and involving more students.