Parker in Paris?

Parker Students and Faculty in French Program Travel to Paris for Spring Break


Photo credit: Sam Forst

Juniors Marian Cozma, Sam Forst and Senior Litzy Tafolla outside of the Castle of Versailles.

On Wednesday April 5, a group of students across all four grades in the Upper School and four faculty members boarded a plane to Paris, France. These students are all a part of Parker’s French program, and this trip’s core purpose was to immerse students in the French language. The students were also encouraged to showcase all of their new or continuing French skills and vocabulary learned so far in their classes. 

The faculty advisors on the trip were Upper School Dean of Student Life Joe Bruno, Upper School French teacher Cynthia Marker, Upper School history teacher Susan Elliott, and Upper School learning resources teacher Bridget Walsh. 

Their days were filled with abundant sightseeing that included the Eiffel Tour, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Capitol Building, among many more. Senior Kymari Hart felt the experience was at times surreal. “It was surreal because I think for a very long time I didn’t believe I was in Paris, even though I would wake up everyday not in my bedroom. It was a really nice trip, and I really enjoyed it,” Hart said. Junior Luna Lissalde’s favorite outcome of the trip was that, “it helped me and my peers reconnect, and create a better and stronger friendship,” Lissalde said. 

Marker spoke to the students about how being in a place where people are constantly speaking the language one is learning helps improve one’s vocabulary and overall understanding of that language. Junior Anna Swanson reflected on her growth in the French language. “When you spend time in a place that is fluently speaking French, it helps you pick it up, and that’s something you can’t really create in a classroom really. Like she can talk to us in French, but it’s not the same. So being there, everyone speaks to you in French, like you actually do start to pick things up, and I did find myself learning a lot more terms, and being able to have conversations with people,” Swanson said.

Senior Yazmin Velazquez also noted a growth in her ability to speak French. “It was very good, I was surprised by how much French I actually understood.” Swanson specifically commented on how small phrases were becoming familiar to herself and her classmates. For example, when ordering food, a server would usually say, “C’est tout” which translates to “that’s all?” Swanson explained that everyone understood immediately, and answered in French. 

Though there were different memorable parts of the trip, for many, a favorite part was the Arc de Triomphe on the very last night of the trip. “On the very last night we went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which was so beautiful, and you get like a whole 360 view of the city and the Eiffel Tower, and we went at just the right time, so you could see it sparkling in the distance,” Swanson said.  Hart’s favorite part was, “most definitely seeing the Eiffel Tower light up on top of the Arc de Triomphe.” Velazquez commented on how getting to know other people on this trip was a highlight. “My favorite part was bonding with the juniors because as a senior, I didn’t think I’d bond with anyone…Honestly, I’m glad that the French program teaches us culturally, not just the language…I was just shocked by how much I actually understood.”