Ali Durkin and Jillian Risavi
Part of being an effective language teacher means continually working at your craft and expanding your knowledge endlessly. This may mean traveling the world to immerse yourselves into new culture, talking with someone of a different culture, or even reading a book set in that culture. One of Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s very own French teachers is taking the immersion route: Solace Amankwah is traveling to the University of Liège located in Wallonia, Belgium to study abroad this summer.
For about three weeks this coming July, Madame Amankwah will be spending her time learning and experiencing the culture and language of Belgium. She is excited to enhance her knowledge to understand a “larger scope,” says Madame Amankwah, to bring back to her students at J-DHS. Madame will be taking courses to learn and develop her French speaking ability as well as courses on Belgium’s culture. These courses were selected by the scholarship program for her to take along with the other teachers who were awarded the scholarship.
There are some distinct differences in the French language in Belgium, when compared to other French speaking areas. Madame Amankwah finds learning and continuing to expand her knowledge crucial, and so she looks forward to learning more about not only the language, but also the culture, especially the food and arts.
“I think that this is a good opportunity for her, and that she will bring home some of her knowledge next year,” says senior Lainey Foti who has had Madame in previous years. “She is a quality teacher and I wouldn’t be at the level of French that I am now without her,” says senior French student and French Club member Lindsay Hair.
In order to qualify for this scholarship, Madame had to ask for two recommendations; one from Principal Paul Gasparini and one from LOTE Department Chair Hank Cline. “She is clearly a dedicated professional, she is clearly a master at the French language, she studies hard, and she is dedicated to people not only learning the language but the culture,” says Mr. Gasparini. “I think that it is important for language teachers to continue to improve their abilities and believe that her constant professional development will help bring better education for students at JD,” says Mr. Cline. This is the second recommendation that Mr. Cline has written for Madame and he isn’t surprised that she has once again won this scholarship.
This is not the first scholarship for Madame, as she has done something similar to this before. She traveled to France over five years ago on a mission to expand her knowledge by studying the French language. She traveled along with other select teacher who were also awarded with the scholarship.