French IV Takes on Detroit


Thirteen French IV students packed onto Detroit’s Q-Line along with their teacher, Marci Harris, holding on for dear life as the streetcar made its way down Woodward Ave, starting and stopping intermittently. The crowded ride marked the conclusion of a busy day of French cultural appreciation.

The day had begun with a ride on the D2A commuter bus, which delivered them practically to the doorstep of Canelle, a French patisserie. There, students enjoyed authentic French pastries and refreshing beverages.

Harris loves that the trip provides an opportunity for her to get to know her students better, and to share her knowledge of the city with them. She was thrilled to be able to teach them the origin of the name “Detroit,” which comes from the French word détroit, which means strait. 

“I love getting to see students outside of the class and sharing with them my love of the city of Detroit,” Harris said.

Post-breakfast and full of pastry, the class made their way to their next stop: the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). After teaching a unit on French art, Harris wanted to take advantage of their proximity to the well-renowned art museum. 

A highlight for Leo Wywrot, junior, was the boomerang the class took in front of The Thinker, created by the sculptor Rodin. The entire group posed as the statue they’d learned about the previous week.

In the museum, the class completed a scavenger hunt, explored different art exhibits, and depleted their bank accounts at the museum café. By the time they were back on the bus to Ann Arbor, the students were thoroughly exhausted, but happy.

“What I hope they take out of French class is that there are other cultures and other people besides just us in Ann Arbor,” Harris said. “Whether it is the people we met in the city of Detroit, or French artists — just understanding some of the art that we’ve learned about.”