Lane students awarded free trip to City of Lights

By Alina Panek

As Esmeralda Orozco, Div. 668, and Kimberly Gutierrez, Div. 660, walk into the Alliance Française de Chicago, they say “Bonjour” to all of the adults — a respectful French custom.

Orozco and Gutierrez travel downtown on the Red Line every Tuesday after school to meet with other students from around the city to learn French culture.

They learned about the class at Alliance Française de Chicago through their French teachers here at Lane, who had to recommend them in order for them to gain eligibility into the pro- gram.

Orozco and Gutierrez also had to be interviewed and write an essay in order to be accepted.

The two were both given scholarships for being enrolled in the program, which is known as “The Educational Outreach Program ‘Award Towards Excellence.’”

Alliance Française de Chicago partners with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and hosts exactly 50 students from six specific CPS high schools, according to their website.

Those schools are Kenwood Academy, King College Prep, Lake View High School, Lane Tech College Prep, Schurz High School and Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center.

The program was created in 1998 and has had great success in sending their students to college. Ninety percent of Alliance Française de Chicago’s 50 students go off to college after the program has concluded.

In the class, Orozco and Gutierrez have learned about French culture and mannerisms, which has benefitted them in their everyday lives.

This contrasts the curriculum of the French foreign language classes that Lane offers to students, which mostly focus on the grammar and syntax of the language, according to Orozco.

“They [Alliance] teach us to sit up straight when we’re sitting, no elbows at the table and how to set the table,” Orozco said.

This summer, “Award Towards Excellence” awarded six individuals with a scholarship to go
to Paris at the end of June for a week.

Orozco and Gutierrez, both students from Lane, have won the scholarship for a free trip to
Paris, “The City of Lights.”

Orozco and Gutierrez are both excited for the different aspects that Paris has to offer.

“I applied to France because it has always been my dream to travel to ‘The City of Lights’,” Gutierrez said. “I also hope to have the opportunity to sit at a cafe and just look at people pass by because I’ve heard that it’s like watching a real fashion show, in France. The last wish would probably be to visit the countryside. Overall, if they had me just sit in the airport the whole week I’d be happy because I’m sitting in France.”

Orozco, on the other hand, wants a bit more out of her trip, specifically culturally and culinary wise.

“I wanna go see firsthand, if the food and the tourists locations is as good as they say. I’m excited to see the Eiffel Tower, and I’m excited because we’re staying in downtown Paris near the Luxembourg Gardens.”