An independent Catholic school for young women in grades 7-12

Taking Love for a Language Beyond the AP Test

Taking Love for a Language Beyond the AP Test
Mae O'Neill '21, Communications Intern

Like every other seventh grader, I walked into Ursuline Academy as a shy twelve-year-old. I had been coming from a public middle school of 900 students, and had no clue how I would find my place among only 60 others (now around 80). With a little extra work and significant might, I found a place within the French community at UA. I defied my own expectations and those that were placed in front of me, and I believe my time at Ursuline could not have been more nourishing. 

The school of 900 had been where I spent my sixth year in the  French immersion program, part of the Milton Public Schools’ education plan. After a few trips abroad and a few too many times reading Gafi (a French Children’s book), I knew French was something that needed to be part of my education story. 

I was greeted at Ursuline with an introductory-level class, and, while I enjoyed learning songs about counting and the alphabet, I longed for something more challenging. After meeting and consulting with the administration, they graciously supported my external endeavours. By the end of my junior year, I had completed Ursuline’s course of study in French, including taking the AP test. 

Before the pandemic commenced, I met with Mrs. Ginnetty, Dean of Academics, numerous times to find the right French program for me online. We decided on One Schoolhouse Academy, a resource nearly all of the Ursuline sister schools employ. We perused their website, found an Advanced French Business Class, and the request for the curriculum was sent. We had completed a few emails and a few signatures, but the task at hand was only just beginning. 

This fall, I commenced my online courses as an Ursuline student and as a One Schoolhouse student. Managing Zooms is one thing, but dealing with an entire independent course load is another. I use a platform called Canvas to communicate with my teacher from Texas, who is originally from Quebec. Each week, I receive my to-do list, and am off to do my 4-7 hours of work, depending on the assignments. I also have the chance to connect with students from across the country; my favorite project thus far was creating an entire conference to pitch a product. My team and I worked via text to create, pitch, and sell something that the French commerce industry would find attractive. Our snack-box delivery service, although not actually fabricated, did provide a solid 100 grade. 

Without the support of Ursuline, I would not have found this amazing opportunity. Now, as a second-semester senior, I prepare to major in French in college. I plan to supplement it with Political Science or History studies, but at the core, I know French is where I find my passion for education. I will take the DELF in the spring (a certification from the French ministry of education), and commence my French journey on a new level in the fall. Taking some inspiration from the original Ursuline sisters in Quebec, I hope to take my all-girls’ education throughout the globe, wherever it may take me.