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International Section Comes of Age

September 1998, 7 bilingual sixième students stood in the MLK playground awaiting their class teacher with mixed emotions. Unsure of whether to speak English or French to their new classmates, they were nonetheless excited to be among kids like themselves and looking forward to English lessons that actually helped them progress.

Over the years, with the dedication of the fantastic teachers in the section and the proactive support of the PSAB, the section was able to expand first to the neighbouring lycée (LFA) and then to the primary school opposite (Louis Blériot).

September 2016, 18 years later, the International Section Buc, which continues to span the three schools, welcomed over 200 pupils from CE2 to terminale - a growth rate that represents about 11 new pupils every year. The section has come of age - a turning point in anyone’s life and definitely something to be celebrated! And that’s exactly what a group of motivated parents and kids from the section decided to do.

“We started by doing a brainstorming with the kids about what they love about the section, their favourite part of the day, what they are proud of and how they felt on their first day,” Julia Pearn told us. Surprisingly, the canteen figured high on their list, as did their bus journey to and from school. “Any concerns about kids taking the bus to school went out the window,” she laughs. “Apparently this is a highlight of their day – it makes them feel so independent!” One of the recurring themes was how good it felt to be in a school with other kids who were also bilingual. Exactly how their bilingualism had been achieved was pretty diverse but the end result was the same – kids who speak both English and French fluently, who are proud of their language skills and enjoy studying in both languages. Singer/songwriter Heather Joyce took these sentiments as her inspiration and at the end of the creative process the SIA song ‘Just Like You’ was born.

The final result reflects the spirit of the SIA; happy kids, friendship, community and generosity of time and talent.

Thanks to everyone involved in making this happen:
Mme Sanchez and Mr Macé for their support and kind permission to use the schools for filming; the Saltimbuc team for their inspiration and drive, especially Jean André for filming and Julia Pearn for ‘rehearsals’; Heather Joyce for the song & lyrics; all the parents present at the PSAB potluck in May 2016 who provided the backing vocals for the song; students Sophie Brodt for her choreography, coaching and patience and Charlotte André for editing and re-editing and re-editing… And finally our kids, for their energy, positive spirits and their smiles!

How good it feels to be with people ‘Just Like You’. Check it out!


You can also see students talking about their journey through the section here:


 

Also, don’t miss the chance to be a fly on the wall in an SIA German lesson: