Saint John's Welcomes French Exchange Students

On October 23, St. John’s High School welcomed 12 students from one of France’s top schools, Le Collège Stanislas in Paris.

These exchange students will spend two weeks living and attending classes with their Pioneer hosts while practicing their English skills. The French students shadow their Saint John’s partners all day until the last period when they participate in the "Activité du Jour.” Activities are a purposeful mix of American and French staples; American Football, Wiffle Ball, Pétanque (French bocce) and Le Football. Rain days bring us French-English board games such as Taboo and Trivial Pursuit. A highlight this year will certainly be Friday's combination of Pioneerfest at Saint John’s and Football under the lights of Pioneer field. The program runs in partnership with Notre Dame Academy in Worcester. Both schools will complete the exchange by attending their partners’ classes this June in Paris, France.

“Our students on exchange develop independence and self-confidence,” shared Mr. Benjamin Lizotte, Saint John’s High School Faculty member and the Paul M. Jourcin Chair of French Studies program. “They are able to appreciate and accept cultural differences through sincere communication as friendships develop, this partnership works well because our schools share similar missions and expectations as Catholic institutions.” he concludes.

Ben Lizotte was recently selected for induction into the French Republic’s prestigious Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of the French Academic Palms) at the grade of Chevalier (Knight). During his tenure, enrollment in French classes has increased with 88% of those students completing 4 years of French studies. He has transformed the nature of student travel by running exchange programs with Le Collège Stanislas in Paris as well as immersion experiences to the French Caribbean. Mr. Lizotte is a beloved teacher whose classroom fosters a spirit of fraternité where purposeful learning, humor and joy exist side-by-side.

“Learn a language, live a culture” is the motto of the World Language Department here at Saint John’s High School.” says says Headmaster Alex Zequeira “We work hard to offer authentic opportunities for students to practice their language skills at every stage of student French Studies,” he adds. “What better way to do this than to have students visiting and interacting with our students who are directly from France,” he concludes.