Scholars from international high schools get taste of college life
Story by Shannon Sigafoos, photos by Adam Atkinson
A special weekend of classroom experiences took place Feb. 21-22 for 10 visiting scholars in the Francophone Heritage Language Program (FHLP). Spearheaded by Mary Toulouse, director of Lafayette’s Foreign Languages and Literatures Resource Center, the weekend retreat provided FHLP students from New York City international high schools with an introduction to college life and related opportunities.
The students hailed from countries such as Haiti, Mali, Senegal, and Guinea, and their visit here also provided Lafayette students with meaningful, firsthand cultural connections between learning communities.
“The last few years, we’ve been making contacts with the French Consulate, and they have a very strong education department. This is a pilot program, and you start and build and learn what works and what doesn’t work. The retreat itself is great because we’re working hand in hand with Lafayette admissions,” says Toulouse. “For many of these students, they have no idea what it takes to come to a selective college or if it’s even possible. The retreat is also about those students connecting with Lafayette students and keeping and maintaining those friendships.”
The retreat included a campus tour in French led by Calvin Wright ’20; a French class with Mathieu Perrot, assistant professor of French; an admissions presentation led by Eugene Gabay, senior admissions advisor; a student panel; a Cyber PAL workshop on maintaining relationships; a leadership workshop led by Jodie Frey, associate dean of students; a Kaleidoscope workshop led by Erik Laucks ’20; a tour of downtown Easton; and a movie and social time with host families.
“This is a two-way street. We’re mentoring their students on college prep, and they’re giving our students the opportunity to develop new friendships and empathize with people who are from a different community of learners,” says Toulouse. “Our students are also able to use the French they’ve been learning. This is an outreach program, but we’re hopeful that it is also helping to build and strengthen Lafayette as an inclusive and diverse community.”