Silver Chips Online

Thirty year celebration of the French immersion program held

Montgomery County commemorates successful program

By Bridget Egan, Online Art Editor
March 28, 2006
Montgomery County Public Schools celebrated the 30 year anniversary of the French Immersion Program on March 25. The ceremony took place at Blair.

Supervisor of Foreign Languages Judith Klimpl began the ceremony with a short speech, in both French and English, praising the teachers and staff who made the immersion program possible. "I can't even say enough to thank all the teachers," Klimpl stated.

Current immersion students and alumni were invited to attend the program, which consisted of various performances that showed the highlights of the French language. Various performances included kindergarten students from Maryvale Elementary School who sung and students from Silver Spring International Middle School who presented poems and fables.

Gabriel Jacobs, the creator and the first principal of the Immersion Program, spoke about various important aspects of being bilingual. One such advantage was that students who took four or more years of a language performed better on the SAT.

During his speech, Jacobs also discussed the importance of knowing two or more languages in the political arena. He contemplated the paradox of how the United States is bilingual, yet immersion programs are not held in high regard in education. Further on, he explained how America does not respect languages and noted that CIA agents are not required to know the local language when they are in a foreign nation.

Nellie Thompson, the Mistress of Ceremonies, praised the program, calling it "a unique program of highest quality."