Students experience French culture through art

Taya Abraham, Feature Editor

French 4 and AP French visited the St. Louis Art Museum on Feb. 23 to learn and talk about French Impressionist pieces of art. 

The field trip was originally planned a month earlier but had to be pushed back due to the outbreak of Omicron. French teacher Kacey Schlotz said the trip was scheduled to be at the end of the class’ Art and Beauty unit. 

“We have an Art and Beauty unit in both French 4 and AP French, and unfortunately, we had to push the field trip out [by] about a month because [of] Omicron,” Schlotz said. “We were supposed to go at the very end of the unit, but because of everything that happened, the art museum closed on Feb. 1 for three weeks, and so we had to push it back. But still, the students were able to actually see the paintings that we had talked about in class.”

At the museum, the French four students were separated into groups and taken on a 30 minute tour given by a French-speaking docent, or guide, to see the Impressionist pieces of art. Junior Elaine Duan, a French four student, said after the tour, they spent time looking through the rest of the museum. 

“[Our French docent] gave us a mini tour looking at the different eras, and she even let us take a look into the Modern Arts section, which was super cool. Then, we just got like 30 minutes of free time to explore the museum on our own,” Duan said. “I thought the trip was actually super fun and interesting. The paintings and sculptures were a lot more interesting [than] I thought it would be.”

For the AP classes, pairs of students had to research a piece of art and give a presentation on it completely in French to the French four groups at the museum. Senior Joe Simon said the trip helped strengthen his speaking skills by creating a comprehensive AP-level presentation. 

“At the museum, we presented a piece of artwork with a partner. The presentation was to French 4 students. The trip was a lot of fun. Everyone talked about how fun the museum really was, and it’s cool because you feel like you can get lost in all the pieces of art and displays,” Simon said. “As for me, it sharpened French skills because we had to talk in front of a group fluently in French, and it tests your ability to think off the top of your head. Seeing the French culture of some of the pieces was really refreshing, too.” 

StuThis is the first time in two years that the French program has gone on this field trip due to COVID. After the museum, the students went to St. Louis Coffee and Creperie for lunch. For the lower level French classes that were unable to go on the field trip, the school hosted a crepe truck on March 4 from 10 a.m. to one p.m. open to all French students and staff. Senior Emilee Stevens said events, such as these, hosted by the French program have given her some of her most cherished school memories. 

“Looking back at high school, some of my favorite memories at school are in French class. I find that at least once a week, I have something to look forward to in that class, which I think is super important in school, especially when core classes ramp up on work and tests. Everyone in AP French has also been together since 7th grade taking French, and it has created a very unique and diverse friend group that I wouldn’t have unless I took French and I am very grateful for that,” Stevens said.