Students of French language at Mepham High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District were treated to a guest visit from Elizabeth Featherstone, a native of France who has lived and taught French in England for more than 35 years. Featherstone is the aunt of Mepham's new French teacher, Charlotte Hayes.
"When I found out my aunt would be visiting New York for two weeks, I immediately thought of what she could bring to my French classes," she said.
Students prepared questions about her dual French-English identity, her experiences traveling abroad and the importance of knowing multiple languages in the global age.
"Knowing another language permits you the world, brings it to your fingertips and lessens the unknown between you and someone from a different country,” Featherstone told students. “Speaking a foreign language also works the brain on a deeper, more intellectual level.”
Hayes' students enjoyed the experience and appreciated being exposed to a native French speaker and shared their enthusiasm.
"Ms. Featherstone's visit to our class was 'très magnifique,” said junior Michael Laupheimer. “She was very energetic and expressive. This helped us understand her French more and gave us an idea about how various cultures helped shape who she is. Her humor also allowed us to connect with her and feel comfortable asking questions. She was very easy to talk to. It was truly an honor to have someone like her speak to us and share her life with us."
"I loved hearing her life story growing up in France,” added senior Kelsey White. “It was interesting to get a perspective from someone who has lived in both France and England."
Mepham French students are looking forward to many more unique learning opportunities including their upcoming trip to Canada this fall.