It began with the storming of the Bastille in 1789, became the French National Holiday, and traveled to all the way to the members of the language school French in Acton. It is the fever and celebration of July 14, also known as Bastille Day.
Like having a little piece of France nearby, students of French in Acton and their spouses gathered together at the AKA Bistro in Lincoln to celebrate Bastille Day over a fine French-style dinner complete with soup, seafood, fine wines, and crème brulée.
"It's like a French Fourth of July," said John Stengrevics, a French in Acton student who has previously attended the celebration of the holiday in Paris. "It's a big deal."
The celebration included, as is customary, the singing of the French national anthem, complete with glass clinking and flag waving and smiling faces all around.
Though sounding beautiful in French, one French speaking diner, Lawrence Krakauer, described the tune, "This has got to be the bloodiest national anthem," even more than that of America's national anthem.
The true meaning of the holiday was not lost despite being so far from France. "It's really a day about liberty," said Frank Stuart whose wife has been studying French with French in Acton for six years. "They ran up and took down the Bastille, the symbol of the French government."
Also present at the dinner was Cynthia Edelman, the director of French in Acton who is known as "Madame" by her students. "During the more than six years since French in Acton's opening, it has been my personal goal as director of French in Acton to create a community centered around the Francophiles of the suburbs of Boston. This dinner is but one example of how this group shares its interest and love of French language and culture," stated Edelman.
French in Acton services around 85 students during the regular school year and has two instructors, Cynthia Edelman and Lisa Locklin. Using an alternative and personal method of learning language, Edelman teaches her students by training them to think in French instead of simply memorizing vocabulary and translating back and forth.
"Cindy's program is extraordinary, my children take classes with her and so do I," said Tara Zantow, a resident of Boxborough. "She's very good at building the foundation to the language. She has lots of tricks for remembering things," Zantow continued. "I'm a teacher so I know how to teach, and she is an extraordinary teacher."
As the night ended and most of the students had left, there remained soft and joyous conversations in melodious French.
© French in Acton
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