By Terry Miller
|Arcadia High School is well-known known for academic achievements, extremely high GPA and SAT scores as well as an impressive list of graduates accepted each year to Ivy League schools. Naturally, the district has a copious amounts of Spanish and other language classes but very few even know of the French program. What you may not know is that there is a formidable French language program at AHS yearning for some of those accolades ascribed to other factions of the high school.
Enter AHS French teacher Christina Vaughan. Madame Vaughan’s zest for the language and her students is electrique positive.
Each year, all students studying French at Arcadia High School with Madame Vaughan and Madame Krikorian have the opportunity to take The National French Contest/Le Grand Concours, which is an annual competition sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). Students of French in grades 1-12, in all 50 states and abroad, take a written & listening comprehension test and compete against students with similar educational background for prizes.
National Prizes include Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. Each year, 25% of those participating receive a medal, but at Arcadia High School, over 70 percent of those taking the test rank nationally and receive a medal.
Platinum award: Highest score in level/division (National rank 1)
Of all of the languages taught at Arcadia High School, French is the only one to have a national competition at every level: French 1, French 2, French 3, and French 4 AP. French students can share this accomplishment when applying to universities. French and the other languages have the SAT 2 which is taken at the beginning of one’s senior year and the AP test which is taken at the end of one’s senior year and the results are not available for universities until after students have already been accepted or rejected.
The French program at Arcadia High School is smaller than the Spanish and Chinese programs, and about the same size as the Japanese program. Madame Vaughan and Madame Krikorian work together as a team to encourage the academic and personal growth of all of their students through engaging curriculum and partner activities which allow students to feel like a family while in class, and throughout their 4 years of French. If students wish to reach the AP level, it is highly recommended that they begin in 9th grade (and take that extra science class during the summer).
While not officially part of the school curriculum, the French program also offers opportunities to host French high school students through an exchange program and also travel to France for an immersion experience.
All of these aspects contribute to the success that Arcadia students have shown on this national test.