West Virginia University in Vendée, France
Lucie in the class, with diamonds...
July 3, 1999
[Due to a technical error on my part, I have lost the late note I added here yesterday about the warm reception of the American cyclist Lance Armstrong as the winner of the first time trials at the 1999 Tour de France. As I remarked, Armstrong was already a hero here, first for his successful battle with cancer and second for his admirable probity during the recent doping scandals. This July 3 he took two further steps toward the status of the eternally venerated in this country. First, he won a major leg of the Tour, and second, he insisted on doing his victory interviews in the language of the host country. As my sister-in-law said, after remarking how well he spoke French, "Ça fait plaisir," "That's a pleasure." Lafayette, Lance is here!]
Several of our culture projects over the last couple of days have focused on the schools in France. Those schools have also provided an invaluable service the Dr. V. Lastinger and myself -- and thus to WVU-V. Day care and education are a perpetual problem for working parents, and for the last two years the directors of the Maternelle des Jardins have generously opened their doors to our youngest daughter, Lucie. The pictures below are actually from Thursday July 01, 1999, but since today is a slow news day for WVU-V and since I couldn't accompany the WVU-Vendéens during their visits to local schools, I thought I would share this end-of-the-day visit to Lucie's school with you.
Lucie's classes begin at 9:00 am. She has a two-hour lunch break from 12:00 to 2:00. Many children return home to their families during this time, but like in the States more and more French workers and professionals are abandoning the traditional long lunch hour. Their children will stay at school and have lunch in the "cantine." School ends at five o'clock in the afternoon. Below, Lucie's classmates prepare for the arrival of their parents at 5:00 pm.
This "maternal school" hosts pupils from two to six years old. This year Lucie is four, so she and her classmates are in the "middle" class.
Today's diamands for Lucie come in the form of the honors' board for good work or good behavior. Yann, Angella, and Lucie have had an exceptionally good day.
Lucie's regular teacher is Madame Velut, but she has been ill for a few days. Below Lucie poses with her "maître" Christian and his colleague Chantal. They have been wonderful teachers, and Lucie will surely miss them when school lets out for the summer next Tuesday.
At five o'clock the weather is fine, and Lucie decides to join her cousins on the beach near her school in the heart of Les Sables. Below, she poses those cousins, Louis (left) and Henri-Marc Benoist.
Stay tuned to WVU-V!
Go on to July 4, 1999
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