Foreign Language Week


Jamiliah Phillip-Johnson

Students who excel in their foreign language classes enjoy a special breakfast. Later that day, they were inducted into their respective Foreign Language National Honors Societies. Sophomore Emma Smith said, ” It was fun to sit next to all my friends and chat for a bit while we ate donuts and drank capri suns.”

   “Languages are the key to the world.” That was the slogan for the 2019 Foreign Language Week. During the week of March 4 to 8, every language, German, French, and Spanish, this week had a day dedicated to it. A student taking that language spoke before the regular announcements that morning. First, they said the pledge of allegiance in their language, allowing everyone to get a taste of it. Then, they announced the top student of every level of the language class. While some teachers had special events planned out, the main event was the National Foreign Language Honor Society Induction.

    All of the foreign language teachers had special things for their students to do, and German Day was first. Mr. Jeremiah Lynn, the German teacher, said “On German Day during National Foreign Language Week this year, we worked on a web quest related to “Karneval” so that students could discover customs, events, and traditions related to this season. Students also looked at examples of Karneval costumes/masks and drew their own as a part of the activity. I generally try to incorporate cultural activities into my class during all major (and some minor!) holidays in the form of videos, documentaries, films, drawings, word games, etc.”

    Tuesday of this week was Mardi Gras, a holiday celebrated in France and more popularly in New Orleans. Mrs. Nicole Stiles threw a party in her room after school on March 5 celebrating the holiday. She had masks that could be decorated with feathers as well as bead necklaces. The main attraction were the crepes that could be filled with whipped cream, jelly or Nutella. Senior Cassie Ward attended that party, and she said “The Mardi Gras party was pretty fun. We got to listen to French music and make masks. Mrs. Stiles also made crepes which was awesome. I put Nutella in mine.”

    Mrs. Lloren Reichert, who teaches all the Spanish classes above level two, offered bonus to her students who either wore shirts that related to Spanish or taped the flag of a Spanish-speaking country to their shirt. While she didn’t have any activity designed specifically for this week, every year on La Día de los Muertos, two foreign exchange students from Mexico give a presentation to all of her classes about the holiday. Her Spanish Four students have the opportunity to make traditional Spanish and South American food for all classes to eat.

    Senior Aaron DeLeon made food for this special celebration. He said, “I chose to make flan for the Day of the Dead party because it is something that I grew up with. My grandma always made this for the family whenever we visited her in Reading. I thought it would be something I can enjoy trying to replicate with my dad, though we could probably never match my grandmother’s.”

    Something that all foreign language classes had been doing in preparation for this week was the poster contest. Students could make 22 X 28in colored posters in order to participate. The poster required students to write this week’s slogan, “languages are the key to the world,” in both English and their second language. The top prize was $50, second place was $25, and third was $15. The winner of the poster both this year and last year was John Hannaway. Hannaway said “It feels awesome to win the poster contest two years in a row. I put a lot of work into each poster. I love the concept of foreign language week. It brings such a special thing we have to the front.”

    The main event of the week was the Foreign Language National Honor Society induction for students who excelled at their second language. During homeroom, all of the inductees were invited to the cafeteria for a breakfast. There were donuts and many other treats for them to enjoy. That night, everyone dressed nicely for the induction at the high school auditorium. Every language’s induction was a little different, but they all involved passing on a candle from person to person and reciting something their second language. They all ended with everyone on stage blowing out their candles together before the audience could applaud to congratulate them.

    Sophomore Emma Smith was inducted into the French National Honor Society. She said, “I usually don’t eat breakfast before school because I’d much rather sleep, so the breakfast we had on Thursday was very nice and helped me get through the day. It was fun to sit next to all my friends and chat for a bit while we ate donuts and drank Capri Suns. It felt pretty awesome to be up on stage standing tall in front of everyone. I am very proud of myself and all my friends who were able to share this experience with me. I’d have to say my favorite part of the ceremony was listening to everyone, including myself, screw up on the sentence we had to say, L’homme qui sait deux langues en vaut deux. I couldn’t stop laughing.”