French exchange sparks student interest


Photo Courtesy Madelyn Ball

In early July, the mayor of Saint Omer and his colleagues came to Maryland in order to discuss the a french exchange. This photo was presented to administration of Lycée Ribot, the chapel and school where students could possibly visit. Archbishop John Carroll attended Lycée Ribot which is what prompted the school to contact JC for the exchange program.

A French exchange is being planned for next year for those who take the language or are interested in traveling to France.

According to Principal Madelyn Ball, Lycée Ribot, a Catholic school located in the northern part of France near Belgium, wants to do an exchange program. JC has a unique connection to this French school because Archbishop John Carroll went there for college in 1748 to study philosophy and theology.

The mayor of Saint Omer, where the French school is located, and his colleagues traveled to the United States and had a discussion with Ball and President Richard O’Hara in early July to discuss the possibility of having an exchange program.

“At this point, I am the only one who is moderating the trip. We’re going to have to play this by ear,” Ball said. The two schools named the endeavor “The Carroll Project,” and the potential exchange involves many individuals from both schools coming together and making this trip possible.

The Carroll Project originally set the trip for 2017, but Ball has been pushing to launch the program next year, despite potential problems.  “They have far more students that want to come over here than we do to go over there,” Ball said.

The details as to when this trip would happen are limited, and the trip itself is still in the development phase. It will run the same way as all the exchange programs: a JC student hosts a French student for three weeks, and in turn, the JC student will be hosted by the French student in France.

Students of French teacher Regina Ferry have shown an interest in the trip, including junior Audrey Anderson. “I like the French culture, so it would be cool to stay there for a few weeks,” Anderson said.

According to Ferry, the last French exchange was in 2012. Since the last exchange, Ferry has had three hip surgeries and is unable to walk around for large periods of time. In addition to her being the only French teacher, no other faculty members have volunteered to travel abroad since the last exchange.

Ferry is glad Ball will be chaperoning the trip. “I think the exchanges are wonderful, and our students get so much out of it,” Ferry said.        

Although the French exchange program is still in the planning stages, there is a trip to France during spring break of 2016. Spanish teacher Deirdre Magner will be traveling with students to experience French culture and visit landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower.

Azanae Barrow is a Community Editor for The Patriot and