With the help of Upper School Drama and Theatre teacher Valerie Hauss-Smith, who is fluent in French, senior Saara Bidiwala and sophomores Helina Tedros and Sophia Serrano created the French Club to teach peers about the French language, culture and food.
Bidiwala, Tedros and Serrano are fluent in French as they came to Greenhill from the Dallas International School, which teaches in French. Greenhill doesn’t offer French as a primary course.
During their first club meeting, the leaders plan to teach members about the language and learn some French vocabulary. Later, club members will watch “Jack et la Mécanique du Cœur”, a 2013 French movie with English subtitles. Despite the time constraint of club periods, they will also try to bake French food like crepes and croissants.
With input from participants, they plan to continue these activities until the end of the year.
“If you’ve never learned French… I hope through this [club] you can get around in a French-speaking country,” said Hauss-Smith. “If so, my wish will come true. My job is done.”
Hauss-Smith is originally from France. She loves the French language and was ecstatic to meet students who were also fluent in French and appreciated the culture. She doesn’t speak French daily, so she wanted a space where she could speak in her native tongue and teach others as well.
With this new club, Greenhill students will be able to explore and learn without the stress of official grades. They believe that the club is a great place to learn the basics for people who have had little to no exposure to French.
“There’s not much pressure and it’ll be super easy,” said Tedros. “It won’t be like a class with any tests or anything.”
After French was taken out of the language curriculum in 2010, many students felt restricted and unable to learn the language they wanted to.
“I am very excited to learn about French culture, especially the food,” said freshman Vicky Cisneros, a club member.
Just like other clubs, the French Club hopes to create an open space to learn French while having fun as well as getting to know other students from all the Upper School.