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Linguists Unite!

French National Honor Society like a ‘family’ at MCHS

Minooka Community High School French Honor Society members (from left) Aurora Guerrero and Shannon Patino cut out homemade French decorations for the school’s Paris-themed prom coming up.
Minooka Community High School French Honor Society members (from left) Aurora Guerrero and Shannon Patino cut out homemade French decorations for the school’s Paris-themed prom coming up.

MINOOKA — The French National Honor Society at Minooka Community High School inducted 12 new members into its ranks in February.

For French students, being a part of the National Honor Society is like gaining a second family.

“I like how we’ve become a family, we communicate better,” said FNHS member Shannon Patino. “It helps us to be stronger people and leaders.”

For Minooka senior Aurora Guerrero, being in French helped her to learn English as well.

Guerrero moved to the United States six years ago. Her native language is Spanish. She spent four years at bilingual schools and transferred to Minooka High for her junior and senior years.

French teacher and French NHS sponsor Carrie Worrall helped Guerrero learn both English and French.

“The only word I knew (in English) when I first came was ‘love,’” Guerrero said.

Now she not only speaks English fluently, she also speaks one of the romance languages just as well.

To be eligible for French National Honor Society, students must maintain an A (3.75 or above) in French class and B in all of their other requirements, said Worrall. They also have to be enrolled in French to maintain their membership.

French is the third-most spoken language in the international businesses world, said Worrall. So learning it can really help a students’ future career path.

“They prefer you spoke to them in French,” Worrall said. “It’s good politics.”

The ability to speak French will assist Guerrero in her quest to go to other countries and provide help. Her first choice is Haiti, where she wants to help children. She intends to do everything from helping to re-build homes to teaching children to speak English.

“If I don’t understand them, I won’t be able to help them,” she said. “I am glad to be able to help people. I once needed help and that’s why I want to learn the language.”

Patino, also a senior, has similar goals in mind. First she plans to go into pre-med with a focus on being a surgeon. After her residency, Patino plans to travel the world wherever they need medical assistance.

“A lot of countries in need of medical help speak French,” Patino said.

French is spoken on every continent in the world, Worrall said, so it’s a skill worth pursuing.

“(We need to) break down our walls that French is only spoken in only one country and in Canada,” Worrall said.

There are many other skills students in French NHS learn along the way. NHS programs teach strong leadership skills and communication. Students learn to be good organizers and take an active role in community service.

For instance, when the French NHS president was unable to fulfill her duties on a temporary basis, Patino assumed the role.

“She stepped up because of conflicts with the president’s schedule,” said Worrall. “She didn’t ask for a title change. She’s passionate about getting things done and making this work.”

The French NHS teamed up with Spanish NHS this year to host a food drive. They also taught French to students at Minooka Junior High and Minooka Intermediate schools by using games and teaching vocabulary words.

This year, French NHS is taking an active role in preparing for prom. Since the theme is “A Night in Paris,” it’s right up their alley.

They are designing and creating 500 invitation-style flash cards that will display common words and phrases from the French language that prom-goers might say to one another, such as “What would you like to drink?” or “Would you like to dance?” all by hand.

And then there’s the fun stuff. Together, the French NHS students practice their use of the French language by going out and using it in real life settings. They go to French restaurants and have French celebrations for Christmas and during the summer.

They also get together for game nights where they practice their vocabulary and movie nights watching programs in French.

Worrall likes her students to take a more active role in their studies, something that’s often left out of the planning.

“It’s their work and their ideas and seeing them come to fruition makes a big impact on them,” she said. “French NHS gives them the place where they can start practicing business and communication skills in a safe environment.”

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