Halloween is not celebrated in France, but on Oct. 31, 2013, 11 foreign exchange students from France enjoyed dunking for apples, carving pumpkins, eating cider donuts, and learning how students at the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School celebrate Halloween.
The French students were in the final day in a two-week visit to BH-BL, during which they each lived in the home of a different family and attended classes and trips with their new BH-BL host brother or sister. Ordinarily the exchange students attend the Lycée Dupuy de Lôme in Lorient, a costal city of 58,000 people located in the province of Brittany in northwestern France.
In the French educational system, a lycée is a three-year secondary school serving college-bound students who are roughly the equivalent of 10th, 11th and 12th graders in the United States.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake has been fortunate to have a 20 year relationship with the Lycée Dupuy de Lôme through the PEACE exchange program, which stands for "Partners in Educational and Cultural Exchange."
Unlike third-party exchange programs that typically organize visits for individual students from many countries, the PEACE program is an ongoing partnership between BH-BL and the Lycée, with teachers from each school learning from each other, sharing lessons, and visiting each other's school as well.
"It's been an amazing experience for us all," said Marian Le Tenier who teaches English at the Lycée and served as chaperone this year for the visiting students. "The American kids have welcomed our students, and the families have been great."
Typically, pupils from the Lycée visit Burnt Hills in the fall. Their BH-BL host students then travel to France in April and spend two weeks (including April break) attending the Lycée and making side trips to Paris and other historic venues.
The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake high school also has partner schools through the PEACE program in Germany and Spain. This year's exchange with the Lycée Dupuy de Lôme is being organized on the American end by BH-BL French teacher Raelene Noll.