Mahar French students test their language learning on Quebec trip

  • Ralph C. Mahar Regional School students Anna Wetherbee, Komal Khan, Aimee and Hannah Dupont, and Tori Hanks create a personal souvenir using the copper embossing technique at Albert Gilles copper art museum in Quebec. Contributed photo

  • Ralph C. Mahar Regional School students pose for a photo in front of the Samuel de Champlain statue and the Hotel Frontenac during their recent trip to Quebec. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 5/29/2019 6:05:51 PM

ORANGE — Having returned from their trip to Quebec last month, a group of Ralph C. Mahar Regional School students and teachers are reflecting on the enriching experience of practicing their French with native speakers.

The 20 students and several teachers explored famous sights like the old city of Quebec — commonly known as Quebec City — the Huron village of Wendake, Montmorency Falls and the Érablière Lac Beauport (sugar shack). They also participated in walking tours, visited local museums and did activities with cultural artisans.

All the while, students absorbed a different history and culture, and used their French with locals — some of the students having learned French for the last four years — in what they’ve called an “enlightening” trip.

“Realizing that the world is much bigger than yourself, being exposed to a new culture allows you to be appreciative of the many opportunities that await you,” said Mahar senior Michelle Moulton.

“I learned about the culture and heritage of the Quebecois,” said fellow senior Anna Wetherbee. “My worldview also widened by speaking and hearing the French I have studied for the past four years. I gained more perspective that will help me in the future.”

Senior Aimee Dupont echoed her classmate’s feeling that the experience would be valuable in the future.

“I got the chance to practice my language skills with native French speakers, which has made me look forward to traveling and speaking French in the future,” Dupont said. “Traveling with my school has changed my outlook on life.”

Staff enjoyed the trip as well. According to Mahar English and journalism teacher Ian Bashaw, the trip helped him “overcome my fear of the unknown.”

“Being able to immerse myself in another culture helped me gain a new appreciation and understanding of my own,” Bashaw said.

The trip was supported in part by a grant from the Orange, Wendell, New Salem and Petersham cultural councils — all four of which are supported by the state’s Mass Cultural Council.

Reach David McLellan at or
413-772-0261, ext. 268.

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