Lopez students get the chance to experience history, geography, architecture, art, and music in 16 activity-filled days during the French Club’s annual Quebec trip.
Now in its fifth year, this is the third time the French Club will be traveling by train. “We’ve enjoyed it a lot,” said Lopez School French teacher Richard Têtu. “It gives kids a feel of the continent, and a chance to bond with each other. And you have time to get homework done!” The ride is three days to Toronto, where the group stays for a day, and then half a day to Quebec.
“Our kids have been so, so well behaved that train conductors tell the other conductors to take care of the kids. We really get pampered,” said Têtu. One year, a conductor changed his vacation days in order to accompany students on the way home. “They also get to visit with Canadians on the train. And the kids learn manners and elegance and behavior, even though they are in coach!”
The group of 13 high school students leaves Feb. 15, and once they arrive, it’s non-stop learning. “We start at six in the morning and end in the late evening.” Students get a complete Quebec experience, visiting museums, battle fields, Parliament, and a maple shack as well as skiing and tubing, among other activities.
This is the 400th Anniversary of Quebec, a walled French-Canadian city where over 90 percent of its residents speak French. Lopez School’s French Club also takes its students on a trip to France each year, and Têtu says that kids who have been on both excursions consider Quebec “more French than Paris.” “Quebec just one an award for safest city in North America,” he added.
The group stays in a 250-year-old hotel across from Parliament. Weather in Quebec can be “quite cold. We’ve had days where it’s minus 20, so it keeps us interested.” Half of the class attending this year are French I students, so “it’s a good introduction to French.” They will stop in Montreal on the way back.
Lopez Island Foreign Exchange supports this trip. “They gave $500 per kid. Without them there is no trip, it’s that simple,” commented Têtu.