Vive la French Club is the cry at GHS

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Greencastle High School French Club member Alex Weliever (left) dishes up some Madeliene cookies for teacher Amy Berry at the recent French Club Culinary Night at the Putnam County Public Library.
Greencastle High School French students participating in the 2014 Congrès State French Contest were (holding banner from left) Zach Wilkerson and Hayden Johnson; first row ,Nick Seaman, Catie Anderson, Abby Walker; second row, Jason Ummel, Liam Guinee, David Maginity, Levi Lewis, Tyler Ralston, Hannah Beaman; third row, Lily Spencer, Bailey Zapp, Katie Rose Parsons, Cecilia Pohlar, Corrie Romer Elise Merrell, Mattia Seaman, Mary Price; and back row Ichiro Mozawa, Emma Thomas and Kylee Long.

Parlez-vous francais?

Literally the translation to that means do you speak French?

And apparently an unusually large number of Greencastle High School students do.

In fact, the school's French Club even boasts a membership of more than 50. And that seems significant among a high school population of 615 pupils, especially one sans a French-speaking community.

Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for the popularity of the language and the club at GHS remains longtime French instructor Amy Berry.

While she would be the last person to take any credit for the continued run of interest in French in the middle of rural Indiana -- where one's first thoughts of Paris might be of the Illinois city -- Berry has been a classroom constant at GHS for a quarter-century now.

"In May, I will have completed my 26th year of teaching," she told the Banner Graphic. "I have been honored to teach 25 of those years in the Greencastle system."

Currently, she teaches five levels of French. Students start French at the eighth-grade level for a one-semester class, and can then continue at GHS for four more years if they choose to do so.

"Our French students participate in the Congrès State French Contest each year, competing against several other schools around the state," Berry noted, adding that presently 37 GHS students are busy preparing for the 2015 event.

"There are many options for students during the contest," Berry noted. "These include speaking contests, as well as performing arts and various tests over French culture, history and vocabulary."

Greencastle's advanced students also have the opportunity to study overseas during the summer through the IU Honors Program. "They were great ambassadors for Greencastle High School," Berry added.

"Last summer, we had three students who represented GHS very well," she continued, listing Lily Spencer, Ichiro Mozawa and Levi Lewis, who presented reports at the recent French Club Culinary Night.

Rather than just buy a bunch of baguettes to share as the centerpiece of French cuisine, the club used the kitchen area at the Putnam County Public Library that night to whip up a few delicacies, including tasty Madeleine cookies created by French I student Alex Weliever, a sophomore, and shared with the likes of GCSC Supt. Dawn Puckett and GHS Principal Russ Hesler.

"In addition to class activities, we have an extremely active French Club," Berry pointed out. "This year we have 52 members."

The GHS French Club activities include:

-- An annual evening at Le Petit Café French restaurant in Bloomington.

-- An evening at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

-- Language Clash International Night with the Spanish and Latin students.

-- Annual Quiche-for-Cash fundraiser for faculty and staff members.

-- Madeleine cooking demonstration at the Putnam County Public Library.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: