For two hours Wednesday evening, the Saratoga Springs High School auditorium was transported to Paris during the school’s annual French Night.
A total of 112 French students performed skits and sang songs in French and dance numbers with a French theme.
More than 500 parents, family members, and fellow students attended the 12th annual French night in the Loewenburg auditorium.
In “Cocorico,” for example, two dozen students dressed in striped Rugby shirts danced to a lively beat and sang along with a large rooster, which is a traditional French mascot.
Luci Bianchi, chairman of the high school’s foreign language department and a French 5 teacher, said French night is a celebration of everything French.
“It gives [the audience] an appreciation of the culture, music and language of France,” Bianchi said.
Bianchi and French 4 teacher Sue Williams coordinated the “La Soiree Francaise.”
Sixty of the students are in French Level 5 classes and 52 of the students performing are in French Level 4 (honors) classes.
Will Vanasdale of Saratoga Springs, a senior and French 5 student, was dressed as a monster in one performance and had a speaking role in another act.
“It’s a way to share the culture,” Vanasdale said about the 11 different acts and performances of French Night.
He said in French 5, which is a college level French course that gives the student college credits, the students do more than just learn words and translate French stories.
“We learn cultural things,” Vanasdale said. He said the students enjoy learning French songs, dances and history.
Vanasdale was among nearly 30 Saratoga Springs High School French students who traveled to Paris two weeks ago as part of a school-coordinated trip.
The students raise the money for the trip themselves and school district teachers and administrators chaperon the students on the trip.
Vanasdale, who is planning to attend Wagner College in Staten Island, said he hopes he can spend his junior year in college abroad in Paris.
High School Principal Frank P. Crowley said the French students participating in French Night are all upper class students.
Crowley said the high school has expanded its agreements with colleges in the region so that more students can earn college credit while still in high school.
For example, the French 5 course is a University at the High School program. Students completing the course receive four credits that are accepted by the University at Albany and other colleges.
Crowley said the upper-level high school Spanish students held their Spanish Night recently at the high school.
A total of 350 students take French at the high school while 893 students take Spanish and 270 students take Latin for a total of 1,513 foreign language students at the high school, according to Bianchi.
She said there are another 1,026 foreign language students at the Maple Avenue Middle School (grades 6 through 8) with 754 of them taking Spanish and 272 taking French.
Bianchi said total foreign language enrollment in the city school district is 2,539 students.
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