French is Fresh

Lone Teacher Carries on the Program


Jack Polishook

Posing in front of the French flag, new French teacher Naomi Campbell is the newest teacher in the department and sponsor of the French Honor Society. While being a small community of just under 100 students, the language is connected by passionate students both in the class and in FHS, as well as being an equally important language to learn. “It’s the third most spoken language in the world,” Campbell said. “It’s used in business a lot of the time. So it’s very useful for international commerce. And it’s an official language of the UN. It’s the official language of the Olympics.”

Jack Polishook, Reporter

After the retirement of French teacher Tammy Nettles last year, French teacher Naomi Campbell has managed to continue the program, hoping to bring the language to new students across the school. After taking French since her sophomore year of high school and studying French Education in college, Campbell is excited to pass on her French skills to other students. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing how much my students grow as French speakers as well as individuals,” Campbell said. “It’s been such fun already to see them develop their trust in me and share their opinions and personalities in class. I can’t wait to see more from each of them in how they can use their strengths each day.”

Being the only French teacher, Campbell has a lot more control over the class and curriculum than in previous school years, which gives a lot more freedom to her and the class.   

 “It’s kind of exciting honestly,” Campbell said. “It’s a lot to know that I can take it in whatever direction I want to, which also is terrifying. But the language department here is so supportive and has given me a lot of encouragement. So it’s been really nice to know that I have a net to catch me if I ever fall down.”

Campbell was inspired to become a French teacher based on her own personal experiences with learning the language and the motivation she received from her own French professor. 

“I had some other ideas about what I wanted to do after high school,” Campbell said. “But was quickly getting burnt out on many of the things I loved. I started reflecting on how much I enjoyed going to French class even if the rest of the school day was trash. I admired how much Madame Marsh cared for us as people and encouraged us to explore facets of language and learning we were curious about. She made learning feel like it’s supposed to; something I wanted to do, not something I had to do to meet someone else’s expectations.”

French currently has less than 100 students enrolled, but many students in the French Honor Society are looking forward to bringing the club and class to more people. If interested in joining the honor society, members must be in French 2 or higher and must maintain a 90 in the class as well as an 80 in every other class. The club ties fun activities with learning more about French culture, and potential service projects in the future.

“I know that last year, we did a lot of opportunities that correlated to the language,” senior Co-President of FHS Sofya Bashirova said. “Like writing essays about personal topics that people found interesting. We also had different meetings during DEN, where we focused on some kind of event that was happening, or focused on some French-speaking country, and we even brought food and had little parties and everything. This year, we also want to focus more on trying to kind of find something to do in the community.”

While many students are now deciding to join French for the first time, other FHS officers like Vice-President and senior Irene Munoz Mansoa share a deep, personal history with the language and culture. 

“I’ve been learning French for four years now and actually did two exchanges in Toulouse, France,” Mansoa said. “Where I got to live in a family and go to school and learn French.  I was there for a little over two weeks, and then I had a French exchange student come to my house for a little over two weeks, and I showed them around.”

Campbell wants to broaden French to any student that is interested in joining, making sure the class is equally educational, while still being fun for the students.

“I make sure to keep it as much of an extracurricular as possible so people want to continue coming back,” Campbell said. “We have a lot of fun. We play a lot of review games. I’m bringing in food for my students tomorrow, and it’s a low-stakes way to explore the world around you more.”