You are here :  Chez Pierre >> Louisiana >> Articles 2

Louisiana :

Columns written (1996-1997)

Articles in the local newspapers

In 1995-1996 and 1996-1997, I wrote monthly in the local newspapers to announce the "Students of the Month" (those who improved the most, who made themselves the most positively noticed, who participated the most...) and to give some news from the French class.

Reading these again a few years later, I find it fun to see the evolution of these articles (from simple announcements to a real motivation and teaching tool) so I put them up on this site !

NB : the pictures are not very good
(I only have photocopies of these newspapers !)
and the texts have sometimes been edited by the editors.

Septembre 1996

French Students Of Month Announced

Bonjour! Comment ca va? I am doing great. Even better! So, how was your summer? I did not get a chance to enjoy the heat and humidity with you, 1 spent mine in Belgium with any family and friends. I had a wonderful, relaxing time and came back ready for school! No kidding! As you may know, this is my fourth and probably last year here as a French teacher. I will not be able to stay longer with my current visa, but that does not mean I will never come back! 

Anyway, I am very excited about this year. It seems I have excellent classes, and I am looking forward to continue to improve the French program here, with the help of our new super-supervisor, Mr. Paul Springer. Bienvenue, Mr. Paul!

Bien... This year again, I will nominate and reward two outstanding students each month (one in Boothville-Venice and one in Buras Middle), and let you all know so you can cheer them...My criteria will be, as for last year: improvement, results, participation, positive attitude, help to improve the class' spirit and efforts to speak French as much as possible. Well...suspense is over, the happy ones for September are Sherie McQuiston, a fourth grader in BVHS, and Dale Guidry, an eighth grader at BMS. My very sincere congratulations to you both!

Don't forget: at the end of the school year, I will select the "Students of the Year" among the "Students of the Month"! Maybe you?

Concours! (Contest): No, I will not forget to give you the opportunity to win 100 fb (French class reward money) by telling me what "La plaquemine est un fruit délicieux" means. Ready? 3...2...1...Partez!  

Mr. Pierre


Octobre 1996

Mr. Pierre Awards More French Students Of Month

Salut! Ca va bien? I hope October wasn't "flu-month" for you as it was for me...It was terrible, and certainly took some of my energy away from classes, but we did well anyway. 

We had the 9-weeks exams (the 7th and 8th graders in Buras Middle did really great!), movies in French (Dennis the Menace in 4th grade and Casper in 5th grade), and a Halloween activity: "Le Grenier de Jérôme". I also went to a Foreign Language Teachers Workshop in Baton Rouge and brought some materials back, so you can expect even more new activities. Ca c'est bon!

And who improved, participated, scored, helped, and spoke French the most in this busy-crazy October Month? Robert Demoll in BVHS, yes, it's him again, he is not tired of being good, he does even better! In BMS, among my very enthusiastic (sometimes much too enthusiastic!) 6th graders, Joshua Labarge stands out for dramatic improvement, especially on his exam, but also for his great attitude. 

These two will get many rewards, and now have a chance to be.. "Students of the Year"! Ca aussi, c'est bon! Oh, oui!

CONCOURS! (Contest): No answer at this time to the previous one: "La plaquemine est un fruit délicieux", but I will add another chance to win 100 fb (French class reward money) by telling me what "Le Grenier de Jérôme" means. A bientôt!

Mr. Pierre


Novembre 1996

French Teacher Rewards More Students

Joyeux Noël !

OOPS... Sounds right when I'm writing it, but I guess by the time you read this, it will be too late to wish you a "Merry Christmas"! Well, at least I can wish you "Bonne Année": it's never too late for that one. 

Let me take this opportunity to apologize for the long time it takes for these articles to be published : you see, before I send one, I have to wait for the pictures from both schools to be taken and developed. So, don't blame the publisher, s'il vous plait. Merci!

Well, here I am, at the end of November...I remember. a wonderful performance of a band who bears the right name: Pride of the Delta! I remember...some crazy singing vegetables who entertained my fourth-graders in French. I remember...honoring Nicholaus Herrington, a smart fifth-grader in BVHS, big smile, and Maurice Lobrano, a cheerful, excellent sixth-grade French student in BMS. 

NOVEMBER STUDENT OF MONTH--Pictured above is Nicholaus Herrington, French Student of the Month of November.

Of course, you know that if they were named "Student of the Month", it's because they really are excellent! Oh, by the way: sorry for the clown next to Maurice on the picture: the photographer forced me into it.

Contest: Again...he did it again... it took him more research this time, but he got it: Kevin Louviere, a happy fifth grader now, gave me the answer: "La plaquemine est un fruit délicieux" means "the persimmon is a delicious fruit". 

Try to beat him on these: "Le Grenier de Jérôme" (from last month, no answer at this time), and a new one: "La Fierté du Delta est une excellente fanfare". No need to be a rocket scientist to tell me what they mean and win 100 fb (French class reward money) for each of them! I know that you know...Just prove it! See you soon!

Sincerely yours,

Mr. Pierre

FRENCH STUDENT OF MONTH-Pictured above are French teacher Mr. Pierre and Maurice Lobrano, Student of Month.

Décembre 1996

French Students Recognized By Mr. Pierre For Excellence

Bonjour a tous! That's how I started a great day, December 7, as The Quizmaster in Baton Rouge. Hundreds of High School French students were having three days of fun, and competition, too. I was responsible for the cultural contest, and was amazed by the level of the 15 candidates! They could answer most questions, including some that would have left me mute! "Bravo!" for them, double "bravo!" for those who won scholarships in Belgium, France and Quebec. "Bravo!" also to Pride of the Delta band, who recently added a great look to their great sound! And "Bravo!" to my fifth graders in Boothville-Venice High School, who broke all records of achievement in French during the second nine-weeks, with a 93% class average!

Other excellent news: sixth and seventh graders in Boothville-Venice High School asked so much for a French class that we worked around the schedule problems. We squeezed 30 minutes of French (an elective class) for the whole second semester! I am really happy about this, it will be a lot of extra work, but they definitely deserve it!


All right, I know what you really want from me: the Students of the Month for December! 

The Great Ones are Joey Rojas, a very surprising, happy, nice, smiling fifth grader in Boothville-Venice High School and Kristina Dragobratovich, one of my numerous excellent students in Buras Middle School, who obviously loves everything about the French class (besides having her picture taken).

Contest: Three chances to win 100 fb (French class reward money) by telling me what these mean: "Le Grenier de Jérôme" or "La Fierté du Delta est une excellente fanfare" (no answer at this time), and a new one: "J'aime beaucoup la Paroisse de Plaquemines".

Yours truly,

Mr. Pierre


Janvier 1997

'Elèves du mois'


Pictured above is French student Kevin Louviere, the "Elève Du Mois" or "Student of the Month" for January at Boothville-Venice High School. 

Pictured below is Kasey Lindow, who received the same award at Buras Middle School. 

These recognitions were given to these students by French teacher, Pierre Gieling, who teaches French at both schools.

Congratulations Kevin and Kasey.

( The following was not published ) :

Salut! Comment allez-vous? I'm doing great! "Janvier" was a great month in French Class. I began a new booklet with the 4th graders, and I have already 9 graded works after only three weeks! They did well! One of these was a detective job, for which 12 outstanding students have received their own, personalized French detective card... The 5th graders continued to discover Cédric and Mordicus' crazy dream about flying in outer space, and I had the pleasure to have my 6th and 7th graders back into business ! Serious business they have courageously chosen to take as an extra to their education! Many, many thanks to Mrs. Duncan, Mrs. Roberts, Mrs. Condry and all the Junior High teachers (and students!) for their support.

In Buras Middle, some 6" graders joined the great and obstinate students I already had, while the 7th and 8th graders keep going, and going, and... onto the path of French mastery. Should I say it? Keep...going! To ease the end of such a busy month, I rewarded all my classes with the movie in French of their choice. No, this is not recess! It is just another very powerful way of learning, particularly adapted to times where students get tired (and we all know that happens, sometimes...).

The special ones for January? My Boothville-Venice Student Of The Month is already famous: "Chasseur de serpents" Kevin Louviere. Please help me find some better adjective than "excellent" or "outstanding": I already used these last year when he was Student of the Month, and then Student of the Year! Allez, Kevin, allez Kevin, allez! And in Buras Middle, a true revelation: Kasey Lindow, who recently switched on Turbo-mode to pass almost all my other long-time great students ! No doubt they will react.

CONCOURS! ( "Contest!" ) "Le Grenier de Jerome" was correctly translated by Michelle Robichaux as "Jérôme's attic" (our Halloween activity). She was awarded 100 fb (French class reward money). You can get the same by telling me what these mean: "La Fierté du Delta est une excellente fanfare" or "J'aime beaucoup la Paroisse de Plaquemines" (no answer at this time), and a new, easy one: "Bonjour a tous les Cajuns!". 

Yours, always: Mr. Pierre.

Février 1997

French Teacher, Mr. Pierre Awards Outstanding Students

Bonjour! Ready for February's Students of the Month and some news? After a so-early Mardi Gras, it was time to rock'n roll in fourth grade: the numbers' rock'n roll! Do you know any nicer way to begin learning numbers in French? I don't. 

Parents didn't rock (well, if they did, I didn't see them), but came in numbers to our second Conference Day. Fifth graders are again blowing up all records with an average score of 95%, while sixth, seventh and eighth graders in Buras Middle continue to show how exceptional they are.

Now, give me a few lines for my dear Junior High class in Boothville-Venice. They deserve your highest consideration: do you know many sixth or seventh graders who would willfully get out of their regular class to go take another, optional subject at 8 in the morning, knowing they will have to work in that one and to make up for what they missed in the regular one? And actually manage to have good grades in both? I know nine of them: Nina, Kirk, Kory, David, Kenny, Brian, James, Oriel and Michael. It seems that we have a fine example here of what "smart, not nerd" means.

Two other students stand out: the February Students of the Month: Royce Billiot, a happy fourth grader in Boothville Venice High School, who probably did not lose one word of what I taught so far.

And John Chambers, whom I've seen growing up into a mature eighth grader and great student in Buras Middle School.

That said, do you realize that there will be only two more pairs nominated before I announce the "Students of the Year'"? And that this will be my last article in this paper, after four years as a French teacher here? It scares me, sometimes. Time goes by so fast! I may come back later, though I love it here!

Concours! (contest): "Le Grenier de Jérôme" was correctly translated by Michelle Robichaux as "Jerome's attic" (our Halloween activity). Destinee Prout, a fifth grader in Boothville Venice High School, gave the correct translation of "La Fierté du Delta est une excellent fanfare". "The Pride Of The Delta is an excellent band." The whole truth! So, Kevin Louviere did not get the 100 fb (French class reward money) this time, he came about 3 seconds too late. 

Work on these now: "J'aime beaucoup la Paroisse de Plaquemines", "Bonjour a tous les Cajuns!" or a new one: "Mes élèves sont géniaux".

Truly Yours, 

Mr. Pierre.


Mars & avril 1997

Mr. Pierre Awards Students Of Month

Bonjour! I hope you will excuse me if I combine the March and April's Students of the Month in one article. It's not that they are less good (au contraire, mon cher!) but because it's so late in the year already. In March, fourth graders continued to "rock the numbers" and then took a solid 9-weeks exam, before a well-deserved spring break. In April, fifth graders finished their program before everybody and got to... No, not to relax and get an early vacation: they "won" the right to learn more! I know, I'm mean.

The only big problem I have right now (as for every year is the students thinking the school year is over April 15. It becomes difficult to teach now, and a lot of class time is wasted. Why do they feel this way? All of us are role models to them, and maybe, somehow, we give that feeling. Let's think about that, it's really a major issue in education here. School ends May 29, not one day before. Actually, one day later for us teachers!

"D'accord, les voila ...": the excellent Students of the Month in March, I carefully chose for their numerous merits. Brian Graham, one of those junior high volunteer super-students in BVHS, as great as he was in fourth grade, just (a lot) taller and smarter, of course. In BMS, an "awaken" seventh grader Dixie Mina, who did good before doing great!

"Pour Avril" (for April): the extra wonderful ones are... not shy anymore, Haley Swain (fifth grade in BVHS) who definitely knows French, well! And nonetheless, Taryn Jackson, a smart and smiley sixth grader in BMS, who does not only have fun and good grades in French: she also learns...a lot!

Is it necessary to mention that Kevin Louviere won the contest again by translating "Bonjour a tous les Cajuns" with "Hello (greetings) to all the Cajuns"? No, of course, you knew he would get the 100 belgian francs...well, anyway I like to recognize exceptional talent, so: Bravo Kevin!

Mai 1997

Mr. Pierre Announces Students Of Year, Bids Farewell

Oui! Oui! Oui! ("Yes, yes, yes!") It's THE event of the year again, for all students learning French with monsieur Pierre: the "Students of the Year"! Too bad, there was not much suspense this year...

The two students I wanted to acclaim for their motivation, participation, improvement, curiosity, active involvement and French Class spirit know how good they are. And so do their classmates, as I heard.

But making the final decision is always a big headache: who? It is heart-breaking to have to choose among students who, for most of them, did the tremendous job of learning, step by step, a second language and some bids of another culture. Well, the two super-honored ones are...

Kevin Louviere (a.k.a. "Chasseur de serpents") now a 5th grader in Boothville-Venice, who already had that honor last year (and many, many others). Even though he still denies wearing a pink outfit once in a while, he keeps going and going, and going...Bunny chasers, beware; you better learn French if you want to catch him. His new feature this year, the "Powercheck", always says "100% left"...continue Kevin, tu es le champion!

 Maurice Lobrano (a.k.a. "Mauricius Lobranus"), my funniest and most commended French student in Buras Middle (among all 6th, 7th and 8th graders) knows who he is, what he wants, and stands up for it. French Class? "Pas de problème!" He gave up on some funnier possibilities to learn and show how smart he can be in my class. A visit of the Belgian Tooth Fairy gave him his French accent back shortly after a little accident, and there he went for another "Victory Dance."

Oh non...Non! Non! (Oh, no.."). Time flies. It's time for me to say "Au revoir" (goodbye) and hit the road again (actually in my case, the sky!). I do not really have a choice: there is a 4 year limit to our stay in the United States as Foreign Associate Teachers. Changing status is way too problematic and costly, so I better leave for at least two years, and come back later with same status. If I get that chance again, I will most probably ask for Plaquemines Parish, as I did in 1993.

You think I'm crazy? Maybe. But I have loved living and teaching here. I loved the place, the people, the tremendous job we can do here as teachers, the students (who can forget about the crazy world they live in when we give them that chance), and the food (the best meat and seafood I ever had made me almost forget my cravings for belgian chocolates and cheeses). I felt useful (I hope I'm right), and learned a lot, thanks to many people here.
"We never know what we have until we lose it". I hope you will never lose it, and can continue to improve it. Plaquemines Parish is a unique place. A tough place. Yet, many people I met manage to make themselves happier here than anywhere else. I was one of them. Of course, I missed my country, my family, my friends. But I kept in touch, and made many new friends here, "home" for 4 years. I do not want to remember the few bad times, vexations I may have had: the good times make up for them.

I am sad to leave. But I am looking forward to the new experiences, discoveries and friends I will make wherever I end up next year. I will try to keep in touch and let you know.

Take care, I will not forget you.
Sincerely Yours,
Monsieur Pierre

See the columns of 1995-1996

Page créée le 26 août 2000 -  Mise à jour le 26 octobre 2002

©opyright 1997-2007 Pierre Gieling - tous droits réservés