This February, Van Tech Secondary was invaded by 28 senior high school boys from the Loire Valley of France. According to French Immersion teacher Erin Cullingworth, the boys were quite popular around the school.
During their visit to Vancouver as part of an exchange program set up by Cullingworth and her counterparts in France, the students trekked all over the City and Metro Vancouver. They visited a range of sustainably-built facilities such as the Convention Centre and South East False Creek Community Centre as well as the usual tourist haunts such as Science World, the Aquarium, Capilano Reservoir and Sun Yat Sen Garden. Some kids even headed to Whistler and Gambier Island with their host families.
Then it was off to the school dance where according to Cullingworth, the boys were stars of the party.
Cullingworth says one of the most powerful parts of the exchange for her students was the opportunity to discuss the tragedy of Charlie Hebo with the French students - all of whom brought copies of the magazine with them to Canada.
She also says it was a terrific opportunity for her students to hone their French language skills, which far surpassed the English of their guests.
Cullingworth says the exchange is a capstone experience for the students, many of whom have been studying French intensely since kindergarten. Van Tech's contingent left for France on February 28.
"There was a lot of anticipation and the excitement for this trip is really high," she says.