Bronxville students gathered before class on Monday morning to express their solidarity with and support for France and the victims of the terrorist attacks that occurred late last week in Paris.
French teachers Toby Gillen, Linita Shih and Maria Trigosso asked their sixth- through 12th-grade students to wear blue, white and red in celebration of the French flag. They also held American and French flags and signs that spelled out “Nous Sommes Paris” – “We Are Paris.”
“We wanted to show our support to the families of the victims and all citizens of France,” Gillen said. “Especially as New Yorkers, we know all too well the threat of terrorism.”
To further demonstrate their solidarity with France, the students have been listening and singing along to the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” in class. One student replicated on a poster board the peace sign with the Eiffel Tower in it, a symbol that has been widely circulating online. The rest of the students have been signing the poster board, which is displayed outside of Trigosso’s classroom.
“In light of these terrorist attacks, as well as Thanksgiving being so near, this has lent itself to having a conversation with my high school students regarding all that we are grateful for in our lives,” Trigosso said.
The Bronxville School has been part of a pen pal program with Collège Montabuzard, a middle school in Ingré, France. It also has been part of an exchange program with France for more than 20 years. Every other year, Bronxville hosts French students for two weeks in the fall, and American students are sent to stay with French families for two weeks in the spring. Gillen said she shared the group picture with a French high school, Le Lycée Victor Hugo, whose principal was moved by the show of support.
“They were so touched by it that they have the picture showing on the main television screen when you walk into the high school,” Gillen said. “Here, in class, we discussed with our students how our world has changed and how our perspective of the world in general has changed.”