|In tribute to her many years of teaching the French language and culture, Janel Lafond-Paquin was presented with the Palmes Academiques from the national education ministry in France.
"This award for me was probably the best thing I ever received because I know the amount of work that people, besides myself, do to get to this point," Ms. Paquin said.
The award was established in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte to honor teachers for devotion and accomplishment. The Palmes Academiques is presented to teachers around the world.
Ms. Paquin said she was overwhelmed when she received the award. The award was presented by Francois Gauthier, the French consul in Boston, on May 10, 2008 at Holy Cross College in Worcester at the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association Retreat.
|Ms. Paquin said she has not only promoted France with the studies of her students, but also Francophone areas, like Quebec, French Africa and cajun territories.||French consul Francois Gauthier with Janel Lafond-Paquin|
Ms. Paquin said the award is usually given to college professors because of the papers they publish on French. She said high school teachers, like herself, do not have enough time to publish such articles. She said she has been to France more than a dozen times, a couple of times on her own, for teachers conferences and nine or 10 times on trips with American students to educate them about the country.
Ms. Paquin said receiving the Palmes Academiques award has already given her opportunities that she would not have otherwise had and to meet new people. She received an invitation for a reception on a French ship in Newport and to attend the St. Jean the Baptist Day ceremonies in Quebec. Ms. Paquin is the chairman of the World Language Department at Rogers High School. She said a lot of her students get put in advanced-level foreign language courses in college.
"Every language is important," Ms. Paquin said. "A foreign language provides an advantage for everyone. We live in a global society. That's what it's all about."
Reprinted with permission of George Austin at The Spectator.
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