According to the Georgia Department of Education, foreign language skills are vital to today’s national defense, law enforcement and economic security. It is, therefore, the goal of the GDOE to enable all students to graduate from high school fluent in one language other than English. Acquiring this kind of skill in a second language is a long and arduous process, demanding hard work and motivation on the part of the student, and a combination of linguistic and pedagogical skill on the part of the teacher.
While most high school students prefer to take Spanish to meet foreign language requirements for graduation, several students at South Effingham High School chose French as their language of choice. Not only did these students meet the standard requirements for receiving graduation credits, they have gone above and beyond, with the help of French teacher Valerie Granzow, to become fluent in the French language.
In fact, 19 of Ms. Granzow’s students at SEHS were recognized last May for their stellar performances on the National French Test organized by the American Association of Teachers of French. One of these students, John Thomas Mahany, now a senior at SEHS, placed first in the state of Georgia and 10th in the nation among the French II group of students. More than 104,000 students competed on the national level.
Also placing first in Georgia in the French I level was Katie Tanner. Other top ranked students testing at the French I level were: Lana Williams, second; Kimberlee Broome, third; Tiffany Hudson, fourth; Sajal Patel, fifth; Isaiah Broomfield, sixth; Megan Edwards and Andrew Lyon, seventh; Erica Bolton and Steven Reed, eighth.
Also ranking among the top scorers at the French II level were: Heather Haslett, second; Anna Schaffner, third; Brittany Davis, fifth; Amber Beaver, sixth; Matthew Holloway and Michela Scomparin, seventh; Megan Dunbar, eighth. James Coleman placed fourth in Georgia at the French III level.
Last spring was the first time that SEHS students participated in the National French Test. The test is written, with sections on reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar. It ranks students compared to other students who have had the same amount of instruction at that level.