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Foreign Exchange Student Makes her Mark

Standing+outside+of+the+French+Room%2C+students++pose+with+Maorie+Mognot+in+front+of+the+the+Eiffel+Tower.+
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Foreign Exchange Student Makes her Mark

Standing outside of the French Room, students  pose with Maorie Mognot in front of the the Eiffel Tower.

Standing outside of the French Room, students pose with Maorie Mognot in front of the the Eiffel Tower.

Brian Ours

Standing outside of the French Room, students pose with Maorie Mognot in front of the the Eiffel Tower.

Brian Ours

Brian Ours

Standing outside of the French Room, students pose with Maorie Mognot in front of the the Eiffel Tower.

Susie Webb, Assistant Editor

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Traveling from Bordeaux, France to Fredericksburg, 14-year-old Maorie Mongnot has made her mark in America. For two weeks, Mongnot stayed with a host family and experienced American culture up close and personal.

Mongnot visited SHS and was introduced to students from Brian Ours’ French classes.

“The students really got excited about learning French,” Ours said. “I think Maorie’s visit was very beneficial for both the students and for her.”

Schools in America are a lot different from schools in France. In France, schools generally don’t come equipped with a gym, auditorium or library.

“The school here is big and cool,” Mongnot said. “There are a lot of activities, like orchestra and theater, that we don’t have in France.”

Speaking to a native French speaker was a new experience for many French students.

“It was really neat to see someone who actually spoke fluid French,” junior Madelyn Knapp said. “It made me realize how much I enjoy taking French.”

Mongnot made a definite impression on the students as they talked about everything from fashion to music choices.

“I thought she was really nice,” junior Lauren Sisson said. “I noticed she was really stylish. She was shy at first, but then she opened up by the end of it.”

The French classes celebrated Mardi Gras by decorating bookmarks and coloring in masks. Having Mongnot join in with the festivities made the holiday even more special for the students.

“I had a lot of fun with her,” junior Michael Catell said. “I liked speaking French with her and doing things for Mardi Gras. She was really sweet and funny.”

One night, a few of the students got together outside of school and had a make-your-own pizza party.

“We went over to my friend’s house and made pizzas,” sophomore Mira Dover said. “It was really fun. I enjoyed seeing her out of school.”

The Willis family, whom Mongnot stayed with, took a few French students out to Williamsburg for the day. Kathryn Willis gave the students lessons on the history, art and culture of Williamsburg in mixed French and English.

“Williamsburg was awesome,” sophomore Meredith Adams said. “We got to experience the beauty of our own country and share it with someone from another country.”

The one area that America let Mongnot down was in the food department. Greasy burgers and fries aren’t the same as the baguettes and cheese of France.  

“The food here is good, but it is not as good as the food in France,” Mongnot said.

Unfortunately, Mongnot couldn’t stay in Virginia forever, and students were forced to say their goodbyes. There was a small going away party, and the students gave Mongnot gifts from the Fredericksburg area.

“It was really hard to say goodbye,” junior Brooke Pataky said. “I hope we get to see her again.”

SHS will never forget the presence of Mongnot, and likewise, Mongnot will never forget her experiences in America. Strong bonds and lasting memories were formed in Mongnot’s visit.

“America is beautiful,” Mongnot said. “It is like a dream.”

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Foreign Exchange Student Makes her Mark