By: Shirby Wang
If you walked into C120 on Halloween, you would have seen rows of spooky tombstones lining the stage and the seats, all depicting the names of deceased French people from Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, a cemetery inParis,France. This was the work of the French Teacher Valerie Hodin’s French 2 class. Each student went online to visit an interactive map of the cemetery and was assigned a famous historical figure buried there to learn about and present to peers. They worked in groups of two and created representations of the graves they were studying. “It’s a virtual visit [to the cemetery] and we’re learning about multitudes of artists united by death,” said Hodin.
Hodin explained that the main purpose of this activity was to join French and American culture by combining Halloween with La Toussaint, a French holiday that takes place on November 1. While American Halloween mocks death, La Toussaint is aimed towards honoring a loved one’s grave by bringing flowers and participating in special services. “I think it’s enlightening for other students who don’t know much about French. There’s a whole culture thing going on,” said Sophomore Raiha Ghutala, one of Hodin’s students.
From October 30 to October 31, visitors were encouraged to visit and learn about French culture from the presenters. Cobweb decorations were used liberally around the entire room, and the lines of graves added to the atmosphere. Freshman Chloe Velasquez, a visitor from French Teacher Amanda Burr’s class said, “It’s really fun and creative and I like how it’s decorative and dark. It fits the mood of Halloween.”