Academie Lafayette helped me become the person I am today
Each memory and silly story makes up who I am as a person.
February 3, 2017
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story by Margaux Renee
Academie Lafayette has a raging reputation that’s fueled equally by lies and truths that you wish were lies. At a glance, AL may seem like a prestigious prep school where students tirelessly work to master the French language day in and day out. However, this is not the case. In reality, Academie Lafayette is a diverse, beautiful and slightly disorganized public charter school where becoming fluent in French serves as a backdrop for one of the most bizarre and unique schooling experiences in existence. As a result, I am blessed to have about a decade of memories that can only be described as hilarious. Though AL was far from perfect, I credit it with shaping me into the person I am today.
Fourth grade was an important year. It was the first time we started switching from class to class rather than spending the day cooped up in our homerooms. This new change along with added tabs in our personally decorated binders brought us one step closer to achieving our ultimate goal: being as cool as the middle schoolers. Though this may sound similar to any other primary school experience, our fourth grade year had a unique focus. For reasons still unknown to me today, nearly 2 hours of every Friday was devoted to intensely rehearsing for our iconic year end performance: Le Grand Spectacle. The effort was spearheaded by a disturbingly strict teacher that was clearly attempting to live vicariously through a group of talentless fourth graders. While you were most likely doing arts and crafts or diagramming sentences, we were busy orchestrating a 3-hour show in what now seems like some sort of cruel joke. Believe it or not, consistent rehearsal of ridiculous dance routines and complicated Francophone songs does tend to bond a group of 9-year-olds and I came out of that ordeal with stronger, memory-filled friendships.
Around the middle of 6th grade is when we realized that we had finally become those “cool” kids we once couldn’t even fathom speaking to. This was clearly exhibited in a student production we put together in English class. The goal of the assignment was to write and perform a short play following the standard style of a fairytale. So, naturally, my group crafted a piece about a princess named Patrollium who had to teach a homeless man in the enchanted forest how to Dougie in order to find her Prince Fluffy that lived in the “hood.” Unfortunately, a couple of our points were revoked due a lack of smooth line delivery. In my opinion, diversity is what held my school together. Academie Lafayette is and always has been racially, ethnically, economically and geographically diverse. This environment created well-rounded, flexible and cultured students. Think about it. When is the last time you saw 6th grader do the Cat Daddy on stage during a school production at St. Peters or Visitation? That’s what I thought.
Another focal point of my schooling was the excessive amount of fire drills. It seems like almost every other week the entire student body, complete with flailing kindergarteners and angsty eighth graders, was marched outside and made to stand on the street in preparation of a fire. This, however, was all in vain because when there was actually a threat, no alarm sounded. Our English teacher interrupted class to talk with our math teacher about what we later learned to be a fire that someone had set. A 7th grader threw a match into the bathroom trash can in some sort of rage so the faculty and staff made the obvious decision and had us wait out the fire in our very flammable, wooden auditorium. This experience taught me that if you’re perseverant, you can overcome anything. To this day, in the 3rd floor girls bathroom of Academie Lafayette sits a burnt, ashy trash to remind us all of what we can face and overcome victoriously. Also, it’s a pretty entertaining story that once again strengthened the family-like bond we had as a grade.
About a week before our graduation, we were instructed to write a journal entry about our time at AL. I was at a loss for words trying to put what seemed like my whole life on a piece of paper. It hit me that the person I had become was almost a collage of all the funny comments my friends had yelled out in class, all the fires set and all the songs rehearsed. My very existence reflects Academie Lafayette. Which is as much a bad thing as it is good. So, I proceeded to write my journal entry about what a mess my school was in effort to not confront these sappy emotions. I ranted about the countless times birds flew in the windows, the time we snuck into the attic and nearly fell through the ceiling, and who could forget, the time we snuck into the asbestos-filled basement. Now I realize that each one of these experiences, no matter how ridiculous, taught me that the most important thing in life is to have fun and be kind to one another. They also taught me that being kind can sometimes include ruthlessly roasting your best friends in front of the entire class. Also, being able to do so in French is pretty cool too. Thank you, Academie Lafayette.