French students win national honors


By Julia Waldow, Print Arts & Style Editor
Twenty-three Beverly students scored in the top ten national rankings in the National French Contest held in March. Participating students in honors or regular French registered for one of five different testing levels with the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). The exam is made up of three parts: listening comprehension, reading comprehension and grammar.
“Students get huge recognition if they’re in the top ten nationally or regionally,” Foreign Language Department Chair Corinne Carlson said. “Typically, we get 20-40 students in the top ten national rankings in any given year. It’s important for them to be recognized because it’s an important achievement.”
French students enjoyed the chance to showcase their French abilities during the test.
“I participate every year because I want to test my abilities and show my level in French to colleges. It’s like taking the SAT,” junior Cosimo Bocchi, who placed ninth nationally both this year and last year, said. “I was surprised when I found out I had placed nationally. Every year, the test gets harder. It reminds me of what my level is and that I shouldn’t strive for less.”
Large numbers of students have participated in the contest ever since Carlson raised awareness about the competition years ago.
“I got to the district 21 years ago and started registering my kids for the contest,” Carlson said. “I think people are really into it. It’s the only national French competition of its kind.”
Unlike private school teachers, Beverly French instructors do not have the freedom to teach to the test. Instead, they help their students by supplying them with an AATF list of possible test topics and answering their questions.
“Most of the schools that take this exam are private and are not as closely connected to state standards of curriculum,” Carlson said. “They have more flexibility to more closely align their teaching to the competition. We don’t always teach curriculum in the same sequence as the test.”
After the test, French teachers send the exams to the Southern California region chapter, which then sends the tests to the national headquarters for grading.
“The competition is important because it stimulates interest, motivates kids and recognizes their accomplishments,” Carlson said. “It helps us both to highlight how good of a French program we have and to maintain the program pretty well.”
Top-scoring students will be honored at Cabaret, the French program’s festival, on May 31.
National student rankings are as follows:
Ranked 2nd Nationally :
Zach Bialobos
Jared Sleisenger
Josephine Whittaker
Ranked 3rd Nationally :
Julie Petrus Verstraeten
Ranked 4th Nationally :
Paloma Bloch
Samuel Sarfati
Ranked 5th Nationally :
Romy Bohbot
Ranked 7th Nationally :
Emma Teman
Kiara Vahdani
Ranked 8th Nationally :
Estelle Allouche
Andrea Pinanes
Ranked 9th Nationally :
Ali Abadi
Natasha Allen
Cosimo Bocchi
Larissa Charmit
Cory Anne Roberts
Samantha Smith
Francis Whittaker
Zoe Tran
Ranked 10th Nationally :
Dorian Elgrichi
Michael Fuller
Upasana Mannur
Myriam Teman