Well, this was a nice surprise. I participate in an organization that contributed to a project conceived by a Teach for America teacher at Lee High School in Marianna. He wanted to take some French students from the Delta to Paris, a little bit beyond the typical Lee High student's summer boundaries. They did it, by golly.
I've just been through some 500 hundred of the pictures they took there, smiling faces before all the familiar monuments, plus French food and other attractions.
The teacher, Gabriel Fotsing, a Harvard grad who's taught French, AP biology and physical science in Marianna, also sent some comments from students:
“I read The Da Vinci Code earlier this year and visiting the Louvre and seeing the Mona Lisa with my own eyes was absolutely surreal! Thank you!” — Corbin
“This trip was full of firsts for me! It was my first time out of Arkansas, on a plane, out of the country, on a subway, and on a boat! I am much more open to new experiences thanks to you!” — Tamesha
“I fell in love with Paris! A week was not enough. I cannot wait to go to college and sign up for a study abroad program in Paris!” — Aquaya
“I was not very confident in my French before the trip. I had always been shy when Mr. Fotsing asked us to speak in class. However, when we were in Paris, I was glad that I could strike up conversations with strangers on the streets. I want to learn more French so my conversations will last a little bit more than three minutes” — Darrenisha
“The Eiffel Tower and Versailles were absolutely amazing! Thank you for making this trip possible!” — Rashawn
“Thank you so much for sponsoring our trip! Notre Dame de Paris and the Musée d’Orsay were my favorites because I saw Van Gogh Starry Night, and it was better than the ones in my art books at school.” — Willie
Feel-good moment of the day.