French Club: More than a language


Dogi Lipika Devera

French Club members William Pan, Pranita Nagavishnu and Alexandra Thomas hold up a poster they created. “Every meeting is filled with engaging activities, amazing people and delicious food which made this club become one of my most active commitments,” French Club copresident Nagavishnu said.

Tolu Oyesanya and Junwoo Kim

The French club is a student-led club that aims to share the French language and culture. Originally a joint club between both Prosper High School and Rock Hill, it recently split into separate chapters. Essentially starting as a new club faced with questions about fundraising, membership and outreach, the French club continues to broaden its vision and initiate club traditions.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to get exposure to other cultures and traditions in a fun and engaging manner,” French Club copresident senior Pranita Nagavishnu said.

There are no requirements for being in French Club. Members do not need to know French or be in a French class.

“It’s less about the language learning and more of a space where you’re free to be yourself with people who have common interests and learn about the culture,” copresident senior Alex Thomas said. “It’s not this huge commitment like some other clubs may be.”

A photo taken at French Club’s Christmas meeting. “This club is more focused on celebrating French culture and building relationships,” Nagavishnu said.

Currently, there are four levels of French offered. However, last year, AP French 4 was going to be removed from the curriculum. Nagavishnu and Thomas were the only students seeking to enroll, and with scarce availability in scheduling with Rock Hill’s sole French teacher, Paule Frenette, district executives were reluctant to offer the class again. After Thomas and Nagavishnu spoke with director of language programs Stephany Sipes, a compromise was reached whereby French 4 would be offered as an online course. 

Regardless, they recognized that learning virtually can be challenging.

“I took French 1 and French 2 online, so it was very difficult to try to learn the language over Proximity Learning rather than by an actual teacher,” Thomas said. “Having an actual teacher is so much more immersive and interactive, and it just creates a huge, huge difference. So it was really important to me to not only get that education for myself that I felt like I deserved but also for the entire district as a whole.”

Thomas knew they could do something about this. In May 2022, Thomas and Nagavishnu took their request to the school board meeting to get AP French 4 back into the curriculum.

“Everybody kept coming up to us after and telling us how great of a job we did,” Thomas said. “It was a really exhilarating, fulfilling experience. It was one of the best days of my life.”

In June 2022, former Rock Hill principal Dustin Toth got back to the two girls with news: French 4 would be reinstated into the curriculum as an in-person class.

“It’s probably the best decision that I’ve ever made in my entire life,” Thomas said. “It makes me so proud. Making that happen and leaving the legacy for other Rock Hill students or Prosper ISD students who come after me.”

A photo of a king cake from French Club’s Mardi Gras meeting on February 22. “If I’m being honest, my favorite thing about French club is probably the food because there’s a lot of food at the meetings,” sophomore Jenalee Maningat said.

Every year, the French Club takes part in Relay for Life, an event that raises funds for the fight against cancer. This fundraiser will take place on April 21. During their monthly meetings, the club has arts and crafts activities, games such as Bingo and Kahoot, gift exchanges, coloring pages, and food. They try to make activities French related, but it’s also an atmosphere for bonding and fun.

“Our sponsor, Madame Frenette, has had a battle with cancer, so it’s really important to us that we participate in the Relay for Life every year because that is a fundraiser for cancer awareness and research,” Thomas said. “She’s a really big inspiration to a lot of us.”

Their next Easter-themed meeting is on March 22 after school in room 2220. 

“This club is about so much more than just the language,” Nagavishnu said. “French Club is an embodiment of what makes French culture so special: food and relationships. I’m so thankful to be president of this club and spread these experiences to others.”