By Katherine Dyer
After a strenuous year of limited social interaction and bonding time with peers, Byram Hills is working to regain our sense of community. Efforts to be back together include the universal lunch, an awesome spirit week and several new clubs. One of these clubs is the Pen Pal Program, started by senior Arianna Tabankin.
She takes both French and Spanish and wanted a place within school to embrace this passion. The steps she took to create this club were part of a fascinating experience, as she got to talk with several schools in Madrid and Paris. After narrowing it down to a school in each city, she took the initiative to set up the program. Both Spanish teacher Mr. Odynocki and French teacher Ms. McCarthy help to advise the club and support the students as they contact their peers in the foreign language.
Each member of this culturally enriching club emails a student in Madrid or Paris every other week throughout the school year. During their twice-per-month conversations, students converse in both English and their chosen foreign language, which can enhance their ability to speak the language they are studying in school. The club also fosters unique friendships, for members can also continue emailing after the school year is over. Amelia Deeks, a member of the club, says “It’s a great way to use your academic abilities outside in the real world.”
In addition, students at Byram Hills have the opportunity to learn about the lives of students in a different country and they are enlightened with knowledge of various cultures and traditions of foreign cities. Arianna Tabankin stated, “I think the club is a fun way to practice your language and learn about other cultures.” Having a pen pal program in the school is a really good way to meet new people and learn about other cultures while expanding one’s knowledge of foreign languages. The Byram Hills community is very excited about welcoming this new club to its community!