By Amanda Hatfield
MELBOURNE -- Jennifer Walker, French teacher at West Shore Junior/Senior High School in Melbourne, certainly has a lot to be proud about.
In addition to Marley Butcher, a student of Ms. Walker, being awarded a study-abroad scholarship to Montepellier this summer, another student of Ms. Walker's has also scored herself an all-expenses-paid, study-abroad scholarship.
Sarah Tanke, a sophomore at West Shore, recently received the La Bourse Perpignan -- a two-week study-abroad scholarship to the South of France -- offered by the French Government at the Florida "Congres" State French Competition.
"Sarah will study the French language and culture in the mornings, and go on educational, cultural excursions during the afternoon and weekends," Ms. Walker said. "She leaves to Perpignan this July."
A student of Ms. Walker's for four years, Sarah is currently studying French IV at West Shore.
"Sarah had to submit a lengthy application, including letters of recommendation from her teachers, activities and achievements in French, and write an essay in French about the French government's contributions toward environmental protection," Ms. Walker said. "Once she was selected as a finalist, she was then interviewed in French by two members of the French Consulate."
Although time-consuming, Sarah knew that all her effort would pay off. She also had a great amount of help from the 2012 winner of La Bourse Perpignan -- fellow student Marianthi Karas, or "Monty" for short.
"Monty helped me feel less worried and talked to me about how much she enjoyed the trip," Sarah said. "When I went in for my interview, it was a lot easier than I expected and it was easy to talk about my future and why I love the French language so much."
When Sarah was announced the recipient of this year's La Bourse Perpignan, she was overwhelmed with emotion.
"I was overjoyed at the fact that I would be going to France -- a place that I had been longing to see with my own eyes -- but I was so happy because the entire French team, especially Ms. Walker, was there to congratulate me," Sarah added.
"Seeing Ms. Walker and a few of my close friends cry out of joy for seeing me win was something I will never forget in all my life," Sarah said. "I cannot wait for the trip to Perpignan; I am sure the experience will be life-changing."