CANTON — Pending approval from the school board of the Canton Central School District, French high school students will return to the village in October after a two-year hiatus related to the coronavirus, and Canton students will return to France next April.
Foreign language teachers Carol E. Goldie and Ellen M. Recinos presented a plan to return to the annual cultural exchange to the board Thursday night.
“It’s an exchange that’s been going on for about 30 years,” Ms. Goldie said. “What’s unique about this is that it’s not just a journey, it’s an exchange.”
Students from Canton are paired and will stay with students from a small town about 200 miles from Paris in a rural district known for its canola production.
Teachers who match students do a good job, Ms. Goldie said, and the exchange often sparks friendships that last a lifetime.
Travel to France comes with a high degree of COVID-19 safety, Ms Goldie said. France requires vaccinations to enter the country and has a high level of vaccination among its residents.
French students will come to Canton in October, which will allow them to experience the beauty of autumn in upstate New York, she said.
During their stay, students will reside with host families, just like students visiting France, with the exception of a few nights in Paris.
While in France, students will attend school with their matches and take part in multi-day excursions.
They will visit the fortified city of Le Mans, the beaches of Normandy, Paris and several castles.
The cost of the trip can vary but will be between $1,500 and $2,000, Ms. Goldie said, and covers airfare, all excursions, hotels and meals. Students will need money for souvenirs and personal purchases.
“Stay-at-home is what keeps the cost down,” Ms Goldie said. “It’s also a very valuable part of the journey. These children, when they go there, do not just visit and see all the sites. They experience the culture firsthand. They use the French language, they eat the food, they make connections.
The board agreed to have the vote to approve the exchange on its April agenda.