This school year, North Allegheny Senior High School French teacher Kylene Stroud wanted to try something different with her students. She wanted to give them an opportunity to use their French outside of the classroom. After seeing a Facebook post asking for cards for patients in a children’s hospital in the United States, she wondered if something like this existed in France. She conducted research and found a similar program overseas with L’Hôpital d’Argenteuil, a hospital just outside of Paris. She contacted the hospital through Facebook to coordinate a program for her French students to write to patients who were at the hospital for long-term stays or indefinitely. And so began the #HappyRésidents program between North Allegheny French students and patients at L’Hôpital d’Argenteuil.
Students spent time during Honors Senior and Honors IV French classes to write letters and decorate cards to send overseas. Within a week, the letters and postcards arrived in Paris from Pittsburgh, putting instantaneous smiles on patients as they read correspondence from French students in the U.S. The hospital also shared this great initiative on their social media accounts, sharing thoughts and comments from the residents regarding the letters.
This unique experience was a real-life opportunity for students to use their French to connect with others in a genuine and caring way. For many of the students, this was their first time using French with native speakers outside of the classroom. Making connections through language was a rewarding and authentic experience that Ms. Stroud looks forward to implementing next school year.