The Virginia Department of Education sponsors five Governor’s Foreign Language Academies each summer where students are nurtured and language skills are cultivated. Participating students were selected through a statewide competition.
Lucas Condon ('14) was among those who arrived in Lexington, VA on June 23. After pledging to speak French exclusively, he and the other students ate, slept and breathed French for three weeks.
The students learned, not in the ordinary way with textbooks and CDs, but by using the language in the cafeteria, in the dorm, on the soccer field, as well as in the classroom. Academy participants attended creative classes such as France of Today, the culture of Quebec, Phonetics, the Culture of Belgium, and Arabic each morning (including Saturdays) to encourage them to take an active part in their learning.
The language immersion extended beyond the classroom with afternoon activities such as cooking, sport, and performing arts. Students writing and photography skills were developed through journals, a yearbook, videos, and weekly newspapers. All activities were hands-on and in real-life situations, making language acquisition meaningful, practical and lasting.