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Best of the Week 2018-2019: Excellence in College Prep


Last week, St. Ed's welcomed members of the French Choir from Collège Saint Joseph in Le Puy-en-Velay, France who have traveled to America to sing classical liturgical music in French, German, Latin and English. While in Cleveland, the French Choir has performed at St. Ed's, St. John's Cathedral in downtown Cleveland, St. Ambrose Parish Church in Brunswick, St. Joseph Academy, Lakewood Catholic Academy, St. Jude's School in Elyria, and Avon United Methodist Church. Additionally, the French Choir will perform twice at the CLEIMUN 19 International Model UN Conference in Cleveland this weekend. While at St. Ed's, the French Choir not only performed at this week's prayer service held Tuesday morning for Mr. Jim Wallenhorst '74, but have also been able to take part in classes and activities with our Edsmen. Last Friday morning, members of the French Choir joined Ms. Elisa Bredendiek's Freshman Honors French class for an all-American breakfast and then with the Senior IB and Honors French classes to interactively analyze a French rap song, helping Edsmen decipher and understand slang words commonly used in young and mainstream French culture. Students from the French Choir also bilingually presented information about their hometown, its traditions and its history so that all students could understand their presentation both in English and French. "The French Choir members were really mesmerized by St. Ed's," says Ms. Bredendiek. "It was enlightening to see our school through their curious eyes. Having freshly arrived on Friday morning, they seemed very impressed particularly by St. Ed's use of technology, the friendliness of the student body and staff, and the open-mindedness of our boys."

The French Choir was also able to interact with Ms. Sabrina Gushue's Honors French 2 classes this Tuesday, engaging in intercultural explorations. Ms. Gushue's students created a gallery tour of images from Le Puy-en-Velay and Cleveland displayed around the Innovation Center. Each Edsmen was paired with a member of the French Choir and walked through the gallery, explaining each city's monuments and landmarks to one another. In Ms. Gushue's Junior IB French class, the French Choir and our Edsmen engaged in a friendly competition of trivia-like questions about French and American culture, food, sports, music, geography, history and politics. "It was amazing to see how easily our students and guests connected," says Ms. Gushue. "Our students were able to improve their French speaking skills by being put in an immersive social setting with native speakers around their same age without feeling any pressure. They weren't afraid to ask questions when they didn't understand something and clearly became more self-confident in speaking French. I think this experience motivated our students to continue to learn more about this language and increased their curiosity about the French culture and international travel opportunities."

"We need to prepare our Edsmen for an increasingly more globalized economy and potential job prospects that could lead them abroad. Knowing French, a language which is spoken in more than 50 countries, can come in handy, no matter if our students pursue careers in engineering, science, business, health services or other disciplines," says Ms. Bredendiek. "Even if French doesn't play a role in the future of our students, this opportunity and connection with the French Choir taught them how to appreciate another culture, how to challenge themselves to communicate with others even when it is hard, how to make connections between different cultures and traditions, and how to see the relevance of what they learn in class and how it applies to real life. This experience helped strengthen the American-French relationship, challenged stereotypes and misconceptions of both cultures, and enabled our Edsmen to personally grow, learn, and create international friendships in our increasingly more interconnected world."

"The ability for our Edsmen to physically meet, interact and engage with peers from across the ocean is enormously exciting and beneficial and contributes to open-mindedness, global understanding and international awareness," says Director of International Programs Mr. Michael Perrins. "Being able to listen to native French-speakers has been invaluable to our French students and the relationship between Collège Saint Joseph and St. Ed's has been greatly enhanced as a result. We hope this relationship will continue to blossom through student exchanges and choir interactions in the years to come."

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