Despite new challenges, York’s world language faculty continues to make French thrive at the high school level
May 1, 2023
Recent changes at the middle school level have caused the French language to be cut from the curriculum. K-8 grade District 205 students will not have access to learning French within school but once they transition into high school, they can enroll in any language of their choosing. York’s French language faculty is more determined than ever to keep the language relevant and alive for their students.
The districts decision to cut French from the world language program was quite a shock, especially since it’s the fifth most popular language globally.
“French, although it might not be the US’s number one language, outside of the United States, it’s definitely an important language to know and to learn,” Lindsay Wyffels, French teacher, said. “In the future, French is predicted to be among the top one or two spoken languages globally.”
The French program at York is not only a passion for the teachers, but also for the high school students. They’ve gained so much knowledge and experience from the opportunities the program has given them since middle school.
“The York French program has been such a wonderful experience,” Cynthia Trajcevski, senior, AP French student, said. “With smaller class sizes there is really a community made during each of the four years here. We always have fun and go on the best field trips to get immersed in French culture.”
The French teachers at York want the best for their students, this is proven in their passion for teaching the language and their plans for a 2024 trip abroad to France.
“We’ve also officially proposed a trip abroad and that we are still waiting for the next steps, but we are hoping that works out,” Wyffels said. “We are excited about that. Actually taking students to France is a pretty amazing opportunity.”
There is hope behind the French program and its staff at York, Wyffels and Joanna Kacprzynska put their love of French into their teaching everyday.
“We could definitely consider ourselves really really lucky because there are not a lot of people that go to work everyday and are still passionate about doing what they do,” Kacprzynska said. “I really want my students to become global citizens. Knowing another culture really makes you more open minded, you gain a different perspective on life in general.”
As for French being cut from district middle schools, it’s sad news for those who have a history with the program.
“It’s heartbreaking, I think. I wish we could do something to prevent it. It’s very unfortunate,” Kacprzynska said.
Incoming freshmen can expect a vibrant and immersive experience if they choose French for their world language credit. They must remember a few important details such as how to be most successful in the program.
“Have fun with the language, don’t be afraid of mispronouncing something,” Kacprzynska said. “I always think of it as putting a puzzle together, there is always a moment where suddenly everything falls into place and then you start speaking and really enjoying the culture and language. Be patient with yourself.”