|Tyler Flournoy excels at foreign language program|
Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston:
Franklin County High School senior Tyler Flournoy (right) spent three weeks at Washington and Lee University’s Governor’s Foreign Language Academy. Flournoy was recommended for the program by one of his Spanish teachers, Renae Lambert (left).
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Tyler Flournoy, a senior at Franklin County High School, attended the Governor's Foreign Language Program at Washington and Lee University last summer.
The three-week program was a full-immersion program for Virginia students who are considered gifted in language and have a passion for the culture they are studying.
During the program, students are not allowed to speak English, only the language of the academy.
"There are academies for French, German and Spanish," said Renae Lambert, Spanish teacher at FCHS. "Academies for Latin, Russian, Japanese and Portuguese are also offered, but not as full immersion."
Each year high schools from across Virginia can nominate one or two students for the Foreign Language Governor's Academies, said Lambert.
"The nomination process includes an 18-page application that requires two teacher recommendations, a high school transcript, a timed composition in the target language and a timed recording of the student speaking the target language."
Lambert said the topics of the composition and recording are kept in sealed envelopes until the time of the test.
After the applications were submitted to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) in January, the selection committee sorted through the applications, choosing 60 students to attend.
"The application process is extensive and highly competitive," said Jodie Robinson, gifted and talented coordinator for Franklin County schools. "His (Flournoy's) application was extremely strong and very impressive."
"In April, we were thrilled to find out that Tyler was one of the students chosen to attend," said Lambert. "It is such an honor to be selected. Tyler is our most gifted foreign language student."
"When I found out I was accepted, I couldn't believe it," said Flournoy. "I immediately went to find out if it was really true. I applied last year and made alternate so, to get accepted this year was incredible."
Flournoy has studied Spanish through level 4, and plans to take college Spanish in the spring. College Spanish is a dual-enrollment class offered through Virginia Western Community College.
Flournoy has also taken four levels of French classes and is currently teaching himself other languages, including Japanese.
"He is also a tutor for many students who struggle with foreign language," said Lambert. "He does an excellent job helping them to improve their grades."
Flournoy said he was one of three students from Southwest Virginia selected to attend the academy.
"Most of them were from the Tidewater area or Northern Virginia," said Flournoy. "Attending the academy was a shock at first. We were only allowed to speak Spanish the entire time. After the initial shock wore off, I loved it. I didn't want to leave."
During the end of the program, faculty and students voted Flournoy the number one Spanish student in Virginia.
"Words cannot express how proud we are here in the foreign language department of Franklin County High School," said Lambert. "Foreign language is not an easy course. There are so many grammatical structures and vocabulary words to memorize. Tyler is truly gifted in his language-learning ability."
Flournoy said neither of his parents speak a foreign language.
"I began Spanish in eighth grade and loved it," said Flournoy. "So, I just kept going from there."
Flournoy hopes to study abroad and get into translation after his education is complete.
"I couldn't imagine a future without foreign language," said Flournoy. "As long as my career involves translation, I will be happy."
For more information about the Governor's Foreign Language Academies, visit vagovernorsschool2013.org.