PHS Olympics to celebrate French language, culture

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth High School French teacher Monty Peden is going out with a bang as he and his students plan the last major event before his retirement — and before the end of French being offered at the school. Next year, Chinese will be a foreign language option for students in the place of French.
Peden’s students, as well as many other teachers and parent volunteers, are collaborating to hold “PHS French Olympics” May 6.
“We are modeling, as much as can at the high school level, the real Olympics,” said Peden.
Attendees of the Sunday afternoon/evening event can watch students compete in athletic events, participate in carnival games, check out student-created displays of French culture, and partake in some French concessions.
“It’s real cheap,” explained Peden. “We are selling everything for 50 cents.”
Some food available will have a French theme, such as “Marie Antoinette cake” but there will also be a variety of more traditional concessions, like hot dogs, sold.
Students have been preparing for the event for about a month. One group created a CD of each country’s anthem, for when the team representing the county comes out during the opening ceremony. Teams of three to eight students will represent each country competing. A teacher or adult volunteer will lead each team.
Other projects include displays on French fashion, traditions, and geographical locations.
“(The students) are learning vocabulary, organization skills, and taking charge (on the day of the event),” said Peden. “There will be about 130 students competing, and I expect 300-400 people to attend. It should be fun, it’s free other than concessions, and it promotes French and the athletic department.”
Athletic events will be held in the multi-purpose room, the auxiliary gym, outside in the parking lot, and in hallways inside the school. The Olympics will begin at 2 p.m. with a parade, “lighting” of the Olympic torch, and opening ceremonies. Closing ceremonies, where winning students will receive gold, silver, and bronze medals, are planned for 6:30 p.m.
“Everything will be in French and in English, just like the real Olympics,” said Peden.