Bonjour, Madame!

Bonjour, Madame!

Grace Doerfler '18, Staff Writer

You may have seen Mme. Valescant, the French teacher, in the hallways, and recognized her as a new teacher.  What you may not know is that she is actually no stranger to Oakland Catholic. In fact, she taught here twelve years ago, when Mrs. Kasunic was serving as interim principal.  Mme. Valescant says, “Now that Mrs. Kasunic is president, I am back!”  Twelve years later, the school seems completely different! It has a bigger student body and more space than it did in 2002. Post-renovation, Madame no longer shares a classroom with other language teachers, as she had done in the past. “Now I have my classroom to myself, and it is so big and so lonely!”

Originally from Lille, an area in northern France near the border of Belgium, Mme. Valescant came to the United States for the first time when she was twenty-one years old. She has fifteen years of teaching under her belt, having done private tutoring for kindergarten-aged children to adults. Her oldest senior student then was 83, now she might have an 18-year-old as her oldest learner.

Her hopes for her French students as they progress in the language under her tutelage is “[t]hat they develop a true passion for the language.”

One might assume that Mme. Valescant, having come from a French background, would find American fare unpalatable. Quite the contrary, in fact. She enjoys American cuisine as much as the next person. “I think it is a misconception to always categorize American food as bad and unhealthy,” Madame says with a hint of surprise in her voice. She does admit nostalgia for French pastries, however. “I really miss my pastries,” confesses Mme. Valescant. “I actually have pastries as my screensaver!  It is my favorite food!”

Mme. Valescant has diverse interests, from cooking to traveling. One of her dreams for the future is to someday hold a French cooking class, in keeping with her love of top-quality cuisine. She fantasizes, “I have a beautiful big kitchen and a beautiful garden. I want to teach people to cook at my home, in my kitchen.” Then she quickly adds with a smile, “The class would be in French, of course!”

The latest addition to the language department has a friendly demeanor; she’s looking forward to getting to know the students better as time goes on. Mme. Valescant explains, grinning, “I am a new teacher like the freshmen are new students. This year, I am a freshman teacher!”