By Anthony Romanelli, Executive Opinion Editor
From a distance, the collection of damp white tents seems unimpressive. On approach, two very distinct sensations overpower the chilly air: the sound of traditional Polish folk music and the smell of Korean barbecue. Closer inspection reveals a table of Italian dishes and a bundt cake taste test organized by the German booth.
A loudspeaker announces the upcoming Irish dance while the Bulgarian booth proudly displays outfits from the European country. This is the Mount Prospect Celebration of Cultures, a diverse collection of foods, outfits, dances and songs that the community wishes to share. It’s the perfect place for Prospect’s French Club, who operated the French booth at the event.
French teacher Gissele Drpich, who sponsors French club with fellow French teacher Jenna Sandstead, was certainly pleased to take part in the Celebration of Cultures on Prospect’s behalf. The booth included coloring sheets to teach kids the flags of the French-speaking nations among other activities, all of which were staffed by members of French Club. As for funding?
“You’re looking at her,” Drpich laughs.
Drpich is glad to spend her money and time on the club, especially this year. French National Honor Society (SHF) recently began a chapter in Prospect, and it shares many members with French Club.
To be a member of French Club, one simply needs a love of French. The club was once only reserved for French speakers in Prospect’s classes. Drpich, however, did away with that rule. She believes that if you are willing to learn something new, there should be no prior experience necessary.
SHF, however, is a different story. Requirements include a B average or higher in French for at least two years and at least 12 community service hours, which can be accomplished through French Club’s out-of-school activities.
Besides the obvious academic benefit, membership in SHF makes students decision-makers in French Club. According to Drpich, the members of the Honors Society will meet regularly to decide club activities.
One aspiring Honors Society member is junior Maria Ileni, who joined French Club out of her love for the language and the culture. As a dedicated member of French Club, Ileni wishes to be in SHF so she can be a part of the planning process and organize her favorite club’s meetings and activities. Ileni immigrated to Mount Prospect last year from Romania, where she studied French as well. She credits Drpich and French Club with smoothening her transition into Prospect.
“I love the language,” Ileni said. “I joined [French Club] to learn everything I can about French, and to find people who share that passion.”
Audio is french teacher Giselle Drpich talking about french club.