Eleven high school students from L’Ecole Notre Dame du Château in Monistrol-sur-Loire spent the week at Greenbrier East High School. They were accompanied by French teachers of English, Marie-Hélène Veysseyre and Florence Chausse.
Said local sponsor and GEHS French teacher, Liz Daigle, “Their school, not far from Lyon in south central France, is located in rolling farmland, mountains and valley, much like the Greenbrier Valley. These French students understand what it is to live rurally, which has enriched the Exchange because the French and American students connect immediately. This affinity, combined with the generosity of the GEHS host families and the community in creating a warm welcome for our guests, has been duplicated when our students traveled to their community in France.”
Highlights of this year’s visit to the community included a guided tour of The Greenbrier hotel, a raptor show, a picnic on the lawn of Carnegie Hall, ice cream at Cakes and Cones and a visit to Swift Level Farm.
Greenbrier East High School provided plenty of exposure to American traditions with homecoming week, football games, soccer games, a band competition, a pumpkin drop competition, and classes at GEHS each day.
Daigle continued, “This inclusion in the day- to-day schedule extends the impact of the exchange beyond the hosting student to many other GEHS students eager to speak and ask questions of the French students who are really treated like celebrities.”
With sadness and more than a few tears, the French Exchange students boarded the train in White Sulphur Springs to return to Washington, D.C., full of memories of their American experience and lots of social media connections to continue their new friendships with their American peers.