A few years of forming relationships and gathering information for O’Neal French Teacher and Chair of the Foreign Language Department, Lyn Cagle, finally culminated with a true exchange program involving mostly Middle School students. Last June (2013), fifteen O’Neal students ranging from age 12 to 15 visited Bourgoin-Jaillieu and Paris for two weeks. The students stayed with host families and experienced attending a French school in addition to seeing many spectacular sites that France has to offer. This April was O’Neal’s turn to host French students. Three students in the 7th and 8th grades arrived April 18th and for three weeks, Astrid, Jeanne and Remi each stayed with O’Neal families and experienced O’Neal from the classroom to the soccer field and more.
“I’ve enjoyed being a part of an American family,” says Jeanne (8th grade). Aaron Landry, host father, commented, “We actually played more games together and had family activities as opposed to just gathering around the television in the evenings. It’s been fun for the whole family."
During her time at O’Neal, Astrid (7th grade) also helped teach a French class. “The people, the students, they are so polite,” states Astrid. “We tried to give Astrid the experience of a typical American way of living, such as getting to know downtown Southern Pines,” says host mom Courtney Kilpatrick.
In addition to the remarkable mastery of the English language with these students in only three weeks, the ability for relationships to be formed with Middle School students as well as the host families is valuable and everlasting.
O’Neal looks forward to continuing this school relationship in France and expanding its connections around the world.