This was a piece written for our first Yearbook regarding the meaning behind our school crest. Our Yearbook is called “Le Marmot,” which is a light-hearted play on words for the name of our school mascot, the marmot, and the French word for an…ahem…exuberant child.
Many years ago some Portland families gathered to form a French-speaking playgroup. They dreamed of giving their children and all children in the Portland area the opportunity for a public French immersion education. Years passed as possibilities were explored, until finally a very dedicated volunteer Board of Directors, including many of the founders, formed Le Monde Immersion as a nonprofit corporation, to pursue a charter with the Portland Public School District. Months passed as research was reviewed, curriculum developed, and policies drafted. In December 2011, the charter was granted for Le Monde French Immersion Public Charter School.
In September 2012, after arduous work by the Board, Le Monde opened its doors for two kindergarten classes and two first grade classes. The teachers for these four classes each selected a class mascot: the Owl (Madame Erin Szabo), the Squirrel (Monsieur Cris Davis), the Bee (Madame Anou Stahl) and the Bear (Monsieur Alexis Bidou). Over this, our inaugural, year, our first generation of students identified themselves by their mascots. Together, these four mascots form Le Monde’s crest. The students of our inaugural classes can always look to the crest to remember that it represents them: our student founders.
The crest animals also represent our aspirations for the traits all Le Monde students will possess as adults, gained with the tools that we hope the school will provide. The Owl is Knowledgeable and Reflective, exploring global concepts and giving thoughtful consideration to her own learning and ideas. The Squirrel is Inquisitive and Balanced, nurturing his natural curiosity while understanding the importance of intellectual, physical and emotional balance for the well-being of himself and others. The Bee is Communicative and Principled; she is confidently and creatively multilingual and collaborative, with a strong sense of fairness and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and the community. The Bear is Courageous and Caring–with independence of spirit he bravely defends his beliefs, while showing empathy and compassion for others and actively working to make a positive difference in his community and to the environment.
Joining our crest animals is our all-school mascot: Maurice the Marmot. Maurice represents our hope that when students leave Le Monde with their many gifts, they will remain humble–modest in the face of their successes.
A Yearbook provides an opportunity to capture memories forever, memories that will form the foundation of each student’s character. For me, in this first edition of “Le Marmot”, it also provides an opportunity to give thanks to everyone who has made Le Monde possible: our amazing teachers, our supportive staff, our many volunteers, our former Board members, and, above-all, the members of our current Board of Directors who have joined me in making a shared dream a reality: Dr. Lynn Prince, Dory Hobbs, Jarod Hobbs, Karyn Warner, Robyn Pfeifer, Dr. Nadia Delshad, Jane Fabulet-Roberts and Dr. Nicole Aas-Rouxparis. I applaud all of you for all that you have given to form Le Monde and the opportunity it hopefully will provide to generations of students.
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