Galion High School French class students honored the victims of the Hurricane Katrina with a special project done during the National French Week in November.
The ‘Fleur-de-Lis Project,’ along with other planned French class activities, was an extension of the students’ class trip to New Orleans, LA in May last year.
“For me, working on the Fleur-de-Lis Project brought back memories from our class trip to New Orleans,” junior Ava Donnersbach said. “I believe this project is an amazing work of art that symbolizes working together to create something beautiful, just like people of New Orleans rebuilding the city after Katrina.”
The project consisted of all students in Ms. Violeta Chinni’s French classes creating a tile piece showcasing the “Fleur-de-Lis’ symbol, which were then combined into an art piece resembling a quilt. The finished piece was displayed in the high school cafetorium during the National French Week last November.
Fleur-de-Lis (also spelled Fleur-de-Lys) is French for ‘flower of the lily,’ and is the symbol of French royalty. It represents perfection, light, and life. This symbol is used by all former French colonies, including New Orleans, Louisiana.
“The Fleur-de-Lis, while popular before the Hurricane Katrina in 2005, grew in popularity even more afterwards,” Chinni said. “The emblem became the symbol of the city of New Orleans, representing, strength, perseverance, and solidarity. This is the reason we as a class have chosen to use this symbol in our tribute to the victims of the Hurricane Katrina.”
“The Fleur-de-Lis Project shows that French students care for Hurricane Katrina victims,” senior Lindzi Moore said. “This project is our way of showing respect to them, and I am happy to have had the privilege of contributing to this piece.”
To help spread the awareness about the entire project, the French students were required to complete a ‘Spread the French Word’ assignment where each student had to physically bring a friend, teacher or a family member to see the exhibit in the cafetorium, showcase their own tile piece and talk about the project.
“The Fleur-de-Lis project brought a lot of awareness to our school about the Hurricane Katrina tragedy,” junior Courtney Taylor said. “Creating the mural and seeing the physical manifestation of it really made us think about the depth of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe.”
“Putting together and executing this project gave our students an opportunity to combine our classroom learning with our New Orleans class trip experience in May, and blend it into a meaningful assignment with a clear goal and purpose of honoring the city of New Orleans and its residents,” Chinni said. “With this project, our students have given the residents of New Orleans a virtual standing ovation for persevering over Hurricane Katrina.”
The unveiling of the project was accompanied by a day of classroom celebrations and a food day featuring a large, two-tier cake decorated with a fleur-de-lis symbol. The cake was baked locally by a student’s parent. The “Fleur-de-Lis Project” currently resides in the French classroom of the Galion High School but according to Ms. Chinni, the students hope to see it travel to other schools in the region.
Hurricane Katrina occurred in August of 2005. It was a category 5 storm, which caused more than 1,800 casualties and more than $108 billion in damages.