French at BHSEC: C’est Dommage!

Jed Lenetsky, ’15

We all remember those days in the beginning of 9th grade, during Intro to Language, when we had to try out Latin, Spanish, and Chinese before choosing the language that we wanted to commit to for our high school career. This process occurred unchanging for most of BHSEC’s existence, with one exception: BHSEC’s first graduating class. They, like all of us, did a language rotation in the beginning of ninth grade; however, instead of rotating between three languages, students rotated between four: Latin, Spanish, Chinese, and French.

But what changed? Why is French no longer offered at BHSEC? Despite French being offered to the class of 2005, the option of taking French was not extended beyond that graduating class. According to Mr. Ducett, offering four languages to such a small student body was unsustainable “as we don’t have enough faculty”. He went on further to say that, “despite the fact that we have faculty who speak French, they are teaching other subjects and aren’t certified. If we had a teacher with a PhD, then it might be different.”   

Opinions regarding this issue vary. Some students are disappointed about French not being offered and others are indifferent. One Y1 student stated that, “I was very disappointed to hear that BHSEC does not offer French. I began studying French in middle school, and was looking forward to continuing to learn such a beautiful language and exploring such a rich literary history.” However for some, BHSEC not offering French was not very important. As one student said, “language wasn’t really my primary focus when choosing between schools.”

A recent survey shows that 20 out of 32 students would have been interested in taking French if it was offered at BHSEC. In the same survey, 9 students also said that they would not have been interested in taking French and 3 were unsure. Despite the large group of students who would have been interested in taking French, many students are not angry with the school for discontinuing it. For example, one student claimed that “the school has to pick languages to offer and French is pretty arbitrary.” Additionally, another student, who was quite passionate about French not being offered, also stated “concessions like these just must be made.” 

In summary, the possibility of BHSEC adding French to the curriculum doesn’t look too likely right now.  However, as both BHSEC’s student body and faculty continue to expand, there is hope that French may be offered again.

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