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National French Week

Bringing the French Culture to Oak Hills

Isabel Moreno, Writer/Reporter

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From November 7th to November 11th the French Club added a spark of French culture to Oak Hills by celebrating National French Week. On Monday Madame Kratofil, the French teacher here on campus, had her students make berets and mustaches by using paper and shish kabob sticks. By Tuesday, the students could wear them around campus and receive extra credit if they asked their teachers, “Je dois demandez-vous parler en francais,” meaning, “I must ask you to speak French.” Madame Kratofil made sure to email the teachers on campus so that they could be involved in knowing what the students were participating in.

As for many, the beret and mustache are a typical stereotype for the French. Why is this? According to writer Margo Lestz, the original image of a French man wearing a beret and having a mustache originates back to the mid 1800s, when the French would trade with the British. A man named Henri Ollivier found that it would be easier for him to sell his onions in Britain, rather than taking his produce to Paris. He wore a beret and used a bike for easier transportation to the onion depots. Many French men did the same, and since this was Britain’s main contact with the French, the image stuck.

On Wednesday, the students wore any shirts with French phrases or words. The trend of having French phrases on clothing is becoming very popular, especially with stores like Forever 21, who have promoted this style. By wearing these kinds of shirts, the students were promoting the language itself, and helping keep the language alive. Although the west of the United States is more exposed to Spanish, the French language still appears in objects we see everyday. For example, almost every piece of makeup and perfume will have some writing on it that is in French.

On Thursday, the students wore stripes to match that of a French man’s. This, of course, is another stereotype, although there is a historical significance behind it. This began around the same time as the berets, in the 1800s. The French navy wore the “Breton” stripe so that they would be easily recognizable if they fell overboard. There were 21 stripes on the shirt, which represented the victories of Napoleon Bonaparte against the British. The look passed on to other sailors, and Coco Chanel, the fashion icon, made it popular for women to wear as well. Soon enough, everyone was wearing the stripes.

To conclude National French Week, the French club enjoyed Diabolos. The Diabolos are also known as Italian sodas, but the French share the drink as well. It’s carbonated water mixed with a flavored syrup and sometimes a cream. The French club did well in participating in National French Week and even had the principal, Mr. Capps, involved too. 

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About the Writer
Isabel Moreno, Writer/Reporter

Isabel was born on February 18. She loves tennis, yoga, and movies. "I am a pretty open person. I like meeting new people and holding conversations."


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National French Week